Pain-free for the first time since before sustaining a lower-abdominal injury late in the Week 1 loss to San Francisco, Green Bay Packers receiver Greg Jennings says he’s feeling “really, really good.”
Jennings had surgery on Nov. 1 for what’s referred to as a core muscle injury, rather than a groin injury or sports hernia. While Jennings wouldn’t share his target date for playing in his first game since Week 4, he did say Dr. William Meyers’ timetable for Jennings to begin full-speed running is three weeks from the date of surgery.
“He’s more of the cautious type, which he has to be,” Jennings said on Monday. “Myself, I’m like, ‘Let’s go.’ I’m more of a speed-up-the-time (guy). I feel great. Again, I haven’t run, I haven’t done all that stuff because they won’t let me. … It’s like a little kid you let taste a piece of candy. Now you try to feed him vegetables again, it’s not really going to happen. They’ve experienced the candy, they want candy. I’ve experienced working out, now it’s like, ‘Just let me go.’ My mind-set is, ‘Let’s take the harness off and just go free and see what happens.’”
Entering the final year of his contract and with a big payday seemingly on the horizon, Jennings has had a miserable season. In two-and-a-half games, he’s caught 12 passes for 78 yards and one touchdown. Boasting a career average of 15.9 yards per reception in his first six seasons, Jennings’ longest catch this year covered just 13 yards.
Now, the hope is Jennings can contribute for the stretch run. If Jennings follows Meyers’ timetable and waits until Nov. 22 to start sprinting, he hypothetically could practice the following week and play on Dec. 2 against Minnesota. Or, the team could give him two weeks of practice and put him on the field on Dec. 9 against Detroit. Either way, Jennings potentially could be available for the final four or five games.
“I was thinking long-term (by having surgery),” Jennings said. “This potentially could be the end (of the season) after the surgery. Everyone knew that going in. With the guy we went with, his track record of putting guys back on the field of play was rather impressive. With that being said, we went that route and we have a shot. Everyone’s been great – not putting me on IR, giving me an opportunity to come back. My goal is to get back out there and perform.”
The Packers do not have to release an injury report until Wednesday. During the one hour that reporters were allowed to watch practice in the Don Hutson Center, cornerback Charles Woodson (collarbone), outside linebacker Clay Matthews (hamstring), right tackle Bryan Bulaga (hip; injured reserve), Jennings and defensive end Mike Neal (ankle) did not participate. Returning were fullback John Kuhn (hamstring), cornerback Sam Shields (ankle), receiver Jordy Nelson (ankle) and defensive end Jerel Worthy (concussion).
Matthews was put through a challenging rehab workout on Monday, coach Mike McCarthy said. Could he play on Sunday at Detroit?
“We’ll see what happens,” McCarthy said. “Let’s see how he responds to rehab today and tomorrow.”
-- McCarthy, on rookie linebacker Nick Perry’s season-ending wrist surgery: “Nick Perry’s wrist is obviously more severe than we anticipated. It’s a very similar injury to both Nick Barnett and A.J. Hawk. If you recall the time with both of those, one required surgery during the season and one after. So, it’s something he was actually working through and playing with. It really continued to bother him so we went with the second opinion and we felt this was the best route for him because this, especially being such a young man, you’re dealing with a wrist. It is intricate as far as the number of different bones in there. That’s why we took the path that we did with Nick. So, it’s obviously in his best long-term interest.”
-- The team’s new starting left guard, Evan Dietrich-Smith, will square off against Ndamukong Suh. Last year at Detroit, of course, Suh was ejected for stomping on Dietrich-Smith. “I don’t even think about it anymore. I think writers and stuff try to make more about it than it was, but no it’s not really on my mind.”
-- Desmond Bishop was back in Green Bay to meet with the training staff. He had been gone for a few weeks rehabbing his surgically repaired hamstring in San Diego. He said “it’s going good” and is hoping to be “close to 100 percent by February.”
-- If the season were to end today, the Packers would be the No. 5 seed and play at the No. 4 New York Giants in the wild-card round.
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.