Greg Jennings' Injury Rules the Day for the Green Bay Packers

Michael DulkaContributor IDecember 11, 2011

GREEN BAY, WI - OCTOBER 2: Donald Driver #80 celebrates with teammates James Jones #89 and Greg Jennings #85 of the Green Bay Packers after scoring a touchdown against the Denver Broncos at Lambeau Field on October 2, 2011 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Matt Ludtke /Getty Images)
Matt Ludtke/Getty Images

The Green Bay Packers improved to 13-0 as they crushed the Oakland Raiders 46-16, but the scene at Lambeau Field was not all joyous as Greg Jennings and others suffered injuries. Greg Jennings injured his knee while Brandon Saine and Ryan Pickett suffered concussions.

Jennings was injured on the Packers' first drive of the second half looking to improve their 31-0 lead after catching an 8-yard pass from Aaron Rodgers. As Jennings slipped under two defenders fighting for extra yardage, a defender landed awkwardly on Jennings' legs. 

After the hit, Jennings was able to stand and limp off the field under his own power, but was struggling mightily. When Jennings got to the sideline, he was immediately met by trainers who helped him to the trainer's table. 

They worked on his left knee before carting Jennings off the field into the locker room. As the cart was nearing the tunnel, Jennings gave a thumbs up towards the stands. 

On a day where the Packers dominated the Raiders, the most focus is rightfully on the status of the standout wide receiver. Jennings has been one of the most reliable targets for Aaron Rodgers this season and will surely be missed if he is forced to sit for a period of time.

With five weeks until the Packers will play their first playoff game, there is a significant amount of time for Jennings to heal up if the injury is just a bruise or a sprain. If the injury is a tear, Jennings is likely to be out for the season.

In the likely scenario that Jennings misses time, the Packers will rely on Jordy Nelson to be the team's top receivers, but will need James Jones, Donald Driver and Randall Cobb to step up as well. With four healthy receivers, the Packers will also turn to their tight ends.

The Packers have enough playmakers that this injury is not devastating, but it will definitely change the way the offense operates. With an impacted passing attack, the Packers will likely need success out of their running game—something they surprisingly got against the Raiders.

GREEN BAY, WI - DECEMBER 11: Jordy Nelson #87 of the Green Bay Packers celebrates a touchdown with Donald Driver #80 during the game against the Oakland Raiders at Lambeau Field on December 11, 2011 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Ima
Scott Boehm/Getty Images

Ryan Grant did his best impression of the 2009 version of himself as he broke out for a 47-yard touchdown on the Packers' second offensive play. Grant continued to find success throughout the day with 85 yards on 10 carries and two touchdowns.

Grant split carries with Brandon Saine, who was later injured. James Starks was inactive for the Packers as he deals with an ankle injury. As weather worsens and the likelihood of Rodgers resting increases, the Packers will need their collection of backs to improve.

With a shot at going 16-0, the Packers must now face the difficult questions of whether or not to rest players facing up to two games that could be meaningless. Jennings' knee injury is a reminder of the risks involved and that injuries can happen on any play.

More information should be available later on the week depending on the results of Jennings' MRI. Saine and Pickett will go through the normal concussion protocol. For Pickett, this is the second concussion he has suffered this season.


"It's the next man up right now," Jermichael Finley said following the game. "Last year, I went down at the beginning of the season and Greg stepped up. So this year, it'll be on our receiving corps to step up... He's a big-time playmaker on this offense and he's going to be missed. There's going to be a lot on the shoulders of whoever takes his spot."

From Finley's comments, it sounds like Jennings' injury could be quite significant and that he will likely miss time. Remember, this is coming from Finley and not the Packers' medical staff.


ProFootballTalk is reporting that Jennings' injury is suspected to be an MCL with unknown severity.