GREEN BAY – Typical of their buzzard’s luck with injuries this season, the Green Bay Packers finally got two-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Greg Jennings back Sunday … just in time to lose wide receiver Jordy Nelson.
Packers coach Mike McCarthy didn’t seem overly concerned about Nelson, who aggravated a hamstring injury that dates back to Oct. 24 and caused him to miss the team’s Oct. 28 victory over Jacksonville. But it would’ve been nice to have had both Jennings, who was returning to action after missing the previous seven games with a lower abdominal muscle injury that required Nov. 1 surgery, and Nelson on the field for longer than two offensive series during Sunday’s 23-14 victory over the Vikings.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who completed four of the team-high eight passes he threw to Jennings for 46 yards, certainly would have preferred that.
“We're not sure what Jordy's situation is going to be, but I would guess that Greg would step seamlessly back into that (spot),” Rodgers said. “If we're talking about the slot, Randall's going to stay in the slot I would assume and Greg will be outside for the most part.
“It's nice having him back. He’s a big-time player. He can make big catches down the field. There were a couple of plays where we were on the same page today, which is fun to get him back out there and still have the same feel that we had previous to the injury. He's a big-time player. We've got to give him more opportunities."
Nelson reinjured the hamstring on a 10-yard reception that converted a third down during the Packers’ second offensive possession, which ended in a field goal. With veteran Donald Driver (thumb) inactive, Jennings ended up playing 52 snaps by unofficial count.
“I thought Greg looked good. We didn’t have a lot of opportunities for our perimeter guys, particularly over the middle of the field, and some of the things we talked about getting to. (But) it was good to have Greg back out there,” McCarthy said. “Jordy Nelson, I’m hoping it’s not serious. I talked to him briefly after the prayer but I don’t think it’s very serious. It’s something that flared up in the pregame and he tried to go and then it obviously flared up on him on that one sideline play.”
Jennings, for his part, was simply happy to be back in the mix after such a brutally long layoff. His biggest catch was a bobble on a third-and-8 pass during the Packers’ 11-minute fourth-quarter drive. Jennings reeled the ball in to pick up the first down and keep the drive alive at the Green Bay 36.
“I felt good. About the second half, it’s like, ‘OK, I’m out here, I’m back now,’” Jennings said. “They said they were going to kind of take the leash off me after the second half, seeing how I felt after the second quarter, and they held true to that. Let me go out in (base packages) and different things like that. Again, it was more of being smart about it. I felt great, feel great now, felt great getting hit a couple times, hitting the ground, getting dirty, making some plays. Now we have to see how this week progresses. I feel great.”
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