Coming off a physically taxing game against the San Francisco 49ers, not to mention playing on a very short week against the Chicago Bears on Thursday, the Green Bay Packers can't afford to rush Greg Jennings back into the lineup.
According to James Carlton of CBS Sports, Jennings has not practiced since suffering a groin injury late in the Packers' loss to the 49ers on Sunday:
On Tuesday, while the team went through drills, Jennings was one of three players not on the practice field, along with RB James Starks (turf toe) and LB Terrell Manning (concussion). After practice, McCarthy again addressed questions about Jennings' injury and his status for Thursday night's game against the Bears.
“His workout and rehab went well,” McCarthy said. “Tomorrow will be the big day.” He added that the injury is “probably more of an endurance issue.”
Maybe something miraculous will happen over the next 36 hours, but a groin injury is a tricky thing. As McCarthy said, Jennings' endurance is going to be the biggest key to whether or not he plays.
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However, given how great Jennings is, the trust there is between him and Aaron Rodgers and the depth the Packers have at wide receiver and tight end, why risk a potential long-term injury for just one game?
It's not like Rodgers gets so locked in on one receiver that he is lost if that one isn't in the lineup. In fact, the thing that makes the Packers quarterback great is his ability to spread the ball around to everyone.
None of that is meant to minimize Jennings' importance to the offense—after all, he does have more than 2,100 receiving yards and 21 touchdowns over the last two years. But you can't rush an injury.
There is going to be a lot of pressure on the Packers to win this game, because if they don't, they will be 0-2. Only 11 percent of teams to lose their first two games of the year make the playoffs.
The Packers are smart enough to know that the NFL season is, contrary to popular opinion, a marathon and not a sprint. You need all your best players performing at their peak level in September and December if you want to have a chance to win a Super Bowl.
If Jennings is still feeling any effects of this injury at game time, the Packers stand to gain nothing by having him suit up and play. Make sure he is healthy for the rest of the season, and take your chances with Jordy Nelson, James Jones, Randall Cobb and Jermichael Finley against the Bears.