Datone Jones is back after turning up missing for the past week-and-a-half due to a tornado.
Or was it a hurricane?
“Tornado came through. Tornado Jones. No, Hurricane Jones,” Jones, the Green Bay Packers’ first-round pick, joked Monday after practicing for the first time since injuring his ankle in the preseason opener on Aug. 9.
Jones played just one snap in that game against Arizona.
“All I can remember, I made a great inside move, great pass-rush move, (and) all I saw was Carson Palmer in front of me,” Jones said. “My eyes got bright, and then after that I was on the ground. That’s all I can really remember. Me, I felt like I made a great play, and it turns out I hurt my ankle.”
Jones had a strong start to training camp, with the early signs being the top pick will make an immediate impact. He’s not sure if he’ll be allowed to play against Seattle on Friday night but he knows these preseason games are important.
“For me, it’s very important,” Jones said. “I’m a competitor. I definitely can’t wait. I’m excited to be back out there with the team. There’s nothing like it, the brotherhood, and I just can’t wait to go.
Star cornerback Casey Hayward was back, too. He had missed the start of training camp because of an injured hamstring. He took part in some team reps, playing both outside and in the slot.
“Casey Hayward was put on a limited basis really to get through the individual,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “He feels really good. His conditioning has gone very well. He’s very anxious to get out there and go full speed. I think the structure of today’s practice probably helped him for being on the field for the first time. We’ll see how he feels tomorrow and see how he progresses through the week. But it’s good to have him back out there.”
New injuries: CB James Nixon (knee/ankle), TE Matthew Mulligan (elbow).
McCarthy said Mulligan will be “challenged” to play this week and had no timetable for the speedy Nixon.
Old injuries: WR Charles Johnson (knee), WR Randall Cobb (biceps), S Sean Richardson (neck), CB Tramon Williams (knee), OL J.C. Tretter (ankle), OT Bryan Bulaga (knee), OT Derek Sherrod (leg), WR Jordy Nelson (knee), DE Jerel Worthy (knee).
Back from injuries: WR Kevin Dorsey (hamstring), RB DuJuan Harris (knee), CB Casey Hayward (hamstring), TE Andrew Quarless (thigh), TE Ryan Taylor (knee), DE Datone Jones (ankle).
Dorsey, Harris and Taylor practiced last week but were held out of the game for precautionary reasons.
— Giorgio Tavecchio has the statistical edge but Mason Crosby has nosed ahead in the kicking battle. Crosby, who hit all three attempts at St. Louis, made 9-of-10 attempts on Monday, with conversions from 34, 35, 39, 41, 45, 47, 48, 53 and 55 yards, and a lone miss (wide right) from 50. Tavecchio, who went 1-for-2 against the Rams, kicked from the same distances as Crosby and missed from 41 (wide right) and 50 (wide right). They finished the drill with makes from 53 and 55 yards.
“Yeah, I like the way Mason Crosby has responded since Family Night,” McCarthy said. “He’s stroking the football with a lot more consistency. That’s all he really needs to do. He has tremendous leg speed for a kicker. He’s very talented. I like the groove that he’s in.”
— The third preseason game used to be seen as a “dress rehearsal” for the regular season. Not so anymore, McCarthy said, while looking ahead to Friday night’s game at Seattle.
“We have to create opportunities,” he said. “We need more information about the players on our roster, so the fact that this will be a dress rehearsal, play this game like a real (game), that’s not as true as it was probably three or four years ago. It’s important that we get enough reps on guys and continue to try to figure this thing out.”
— Tuesday’s practice, which starts at 11:15 a.m., was scheduled to be full pads but will be in shells, instead. Wednesday’s practice, set for 11 a.m., will be in full pads. Both practices are open to fans.
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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.