Now that Greg Jennings is back to practice, playing in a game might not be too far behind.
The Green Bay Packers' No. 1 receiver said he felt great after practicing Wednesday for the first time since having surgery Nov. 1 to repair a torn abdominal muscle. Jennings caught balls and ran routes in his limited time at practice, then went inside to run and work on his endurance.
"There were some routes I was able to push it," he said. "I pretty much pushed myself to see how much I can take. As far as speed, I got up to full speed on a few routes. Felt really great. My wind is horrible right now so I'm trying to get my wind under wraps. But other than that, I felt great.
"I felt no pain whatsoever," he added. "It's been a long time coming since I could say that."
Packers coach Mike McCarthy said it would be "a stretch" for Jennings to play Sunday night against the New York Giants, and Jennings won't put a timetable on his return. But he won't rule himself against the team that knocked Green Bay out of last year's playoffs, either.
"I don't feel like I'm a long shot. ... I feel great, the body feels great," he said. "Today was a big step for me. Whether or not I'll play this week, that's still yet to be determined. I want to see how I feel tomorrow and how I respond to what took place today."
The two-time Pro Bowler has missed all but three games this season after getting hurt in the closing minutes of the Sept. 9 opener against San Francisco. Jennings sat out the next week's game against Chicago, and returned to play at Seattle on Sept. 24. But he aggravated the injury against New Orleans, and came out of the Sept. 30 game in the second quarter after a 9-yard touchdown catch, his first of the season.
Jennings initially hoped rest and rehab would be enough to get him back on the field, but decided to have surgery after the injury failed to get better.
"I feel like since I walked in the door for training camp I've kind of been bumped and bruised and nicked up," Jennings said. "It was frustrating, going into it initially not knowing what was going on. But once I had the surgery done and ... (was) able to focus on the injury and now heal it up and do the things that we can to recover from it, I feel great. My mental state is great. My physical state is getting better by the day so I'm excited."
He's not the only one.
"It's fun to see him out there even if it's in a walk-through setting," Aaron Rodgers said. "Hopefully, we can get him back here pretty soon."
Jennings has been Rodgers' favorite target the last few years. He's caught 67 or more passes in each of the last four seasons, and gone over 1,000 yards receiving in all but one of those years. He finished with 949 yards receiving last year after missing three games with a knee injury.
He's in the top 10 in franchise history in catches (401, seventh), yards receiving (6,249, eighth) and touchdown catches (50, tie for fifth).
The rest of the Packers have picked up the slack in Jennings' absence, with Green Bay winning five straight to return to the top of the NFC North.
"It's fun to watch when your team is having success. But obviously you want to be a part of that," Jennings said. "It's been a little frustrating, but I'm coming around the corner."
Packers injury report
Out: CB Sam Shields (ankle); DB Charles Woodson (collarbone). Did not participate: LB Clay Matthews (hamstring); LB Vic So’oto (illness). Limited: WR Donald Driver (thumb); WR Greg Jennings (abdomen); FB John Kuhn (hamstring); LB Terrell Manning (shoulder); TE Andrew Quarless (knee); LB Erik Walden (ankle). Full: DT B.J. Raji (ankle).
McCarthy called Matthews “doubtful” for Sunday’s game and said Shields had a “setback” and will be out for a couple more weeks. “It’s a little more serious than we anticipated,” McCarthy said.
Giants injury report
Did not participate: RB Ahmad Bradshaw (foot); WR Domenik Hixon (ankle); DT Linval Joseph (knee). Limited: S Kenny Phillips (knee); LB Keith Rivers (calf/knee); LB Jacquian Williams (knee). Full: C David Baas (ankle/elbow); S Tyler Sash (ankle); G Chris Snee (ankle).