Jordy Nelson: Don't Count on Packers WR in Week 8
The Green Bay Packers are quickly wearing down, and they're getting especially thin at wide receiver.
Unfortunately, the end of this week didn't bring anything in terms of good news.
Not only is Greg Jennings about to undergo surgery to repair an abdominal tear, according to ABC Green Bay's Chris Roth, but it appears that Jordy Nelson could be a no-go for this week's matchup against Jacksonville.
The wideout missed practice on Thursday due to a hamstring injury sustained during Wednesday's practice, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Tom Silverstein. Clearly, the Packers need him even more now in light of Jennings' unwelcome news, but there's only so much you can do with a hamstring injury.
Losing Jennings was bad enough. Losing the team's leading wide receiver, who's registered 532 yards and five touchdowns in Jennings' absence, is worse.
It's not the best time for the injuries to be piling up, either. The Packers—like so many of the preseason front-runners in 2012—got off to a rough start this season, beginning 2-3 and suffering losses to the likes of Seattle and Indianapolis.
Since that 30-27 loss to the Colts, though, the Packers have managed to turn things around, to some degree. They've reeled off two consecutive wins, one of which came against the mighty team no one else could find a way to defeat: the Texans. In terms of team morale, that definitely makes up for that Week 1 loss to the 49ers.
But now, the Packers are welcoming Jacksonville to town knowing that they're most likely going to be without two of their top receivers—one of whom they may not get back until the very end of the season.
Can Nelson play on Sunday? Probably not, if he didn't practice on Thursday. Hamstring injuries are the one thing you don't want to mess with; if Nelson ends up playing before he's ready, an injury that could keep him out a week or maybe two could quickly spiral into a season-ending injury.
It's better to play it safe where he's concerned, even if it leaves Green Bay perilously thin at wideout.
The good news is Jacksonville is considerably worse against the run than it is against the pass, which should open up a big door for Alex Green. He's been relatively underwhelming in the absence of Cedric Benson, registering 165 yards on 54 carries this season. But nevertheless, if there was ever a week to rely on the run a little bit more—even when your quarterback is the mighty Aaron Rodgers—this would be that week.
The Packers need to keep this newly-generated momentum rolling, and they're going to have to find a way to do it without a couple of key cogs in their offensive machine. In Week 8, against a bad rush defense, they have a good opportunity to let the backfield shoulder more of the load, inexperienced as it may be.
After they get their third straight win, they can start worrying about when they're going to get their wideouts back.
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