Slowly but surely, the Green Bay Packers are getting healthier.
A week after the Packers regained the services of playmaking cornerback Casey Hayward, receiver James Jones might return for Monday night’s game against Chicago. Jones, who injured a knee on the opening series of the Oct. 13 game against Baltimore, was limited at practice all week. On Saturday, he was on the field for a two-minute drill.
“James practiced today. He did a little more than yesterday, so we’ll see where he is,” said coach Mike McCarthy, who listed Jones as questionable. “Frankly, it’s up in the air, but he’s doing everything he can.”
Jones put his odds of playing at about 50/50. How he feels on Sunday will be key.
“I’m just glad I’m feeling better,” Jones said. “It is Monday night, so, I mean, it is the Bears, so I’ll put a little extra on it. Felt better. I’m mostly going to just see how it reacts tomorrow. If it reacts pretty good tomorrow, we might have a decent shot. If I wake up sore and all that stuff, I don’t know.”
The Packers have won four consecutive games, including 75 points the last two weeks. That the offense has been producing removes some of the pressure to return.
“We’ve been winning,” Jones said. “So proud of those dudes. They’ve played well. They’re going to continue to play well. I’m just trying to get out there, do my part, help the team win. But most of all, we have to be healthy.”
Packers injury report
Out: TE Jermichael Finley (neck), OLB Clay Matthews (thumb). Doubtful: OLB Nick Perry (foot). Questionable: WR James Jones (knee). Probable: ILB Brad Jones (hamstring), CB Sam Shields (toes), TE Ryan Taylor (knee).
Shields got stepped on at Friday’s practice and was held out on Saturday for precautionary reasons. Taylor didn’t practice, either, as he returns from knee surgery but that also was more for precautionary reasons.
Bears injury report
Out: LB Lance Briggs (shoulder), QB Jay Cutler (groin). Questionable: WR Joe Anderson (abdomen). Probable: LB Blake Costanzo (knee), CB Charles Tillman (knee), S Major Wright (knee).
The Bears made it official that Briggs and Cutler won’t play on Monday night. Neither is a surprise, though Bears coach Marc Trestman had left the door open just a sliver for Cutler.
Tillman and Wright, two starters in the secondary, were full participation at practice.
-- Micah Hyde will returns punts on Monday night. Will he return kickoffs, too? “No idea. I have no idea,” he said. “Ask the head man. He might give you an answer. I have no idea. I have no idea coming into Monday night. If I’m back there, I’d love the opportunity, but if not, I’m sure my teammates will be prepared.”
-- Here’s the life of a coach, with a Saturday really being a Friday due to the Monday night game. Or something like that: “In our world, you lose all track of that,” defensive coordinator Dom Capers said. “My wife was waiting to go out last night, and I said, ‘This is a Thursday. We aren’t going out on a Thursday.’ So, we get all mixed up. On the outside world, it’s totally different.”
-- No decisions have been made at inside linebacker, with starter Brad Jones appearing healthy but Jamari Lattimore having played well in his place. “We’ve been really pleased with the way Jamari’s played,” Capers said. “The key is with Brad, is he’s missed quite a bit of time here. So, we’ll work Brad in, we’ve got to monitor his reps, make sure we don’t overwork him as his first game back, but I know he’s excited to get out there and play. You’ll see Jamari at times because he’s certainly played well enough to warrant getting some time.
-- For the first time in franchise history, the Packers have had an 80-yard rusher for six consecutive games. That’s almost impossible to believe considering the Packers had a Hall of Fame backfield of Jim Taylor and Paul Hornung. “Anytime you say the ‘first time in the history of the Green Bay Packers’, it’s a huge compliment,” McCarthy said. “We need to keep it going.”
Agree or disagree?: Discuss hot Packers topics in our, free forums. Leave Bill a question in the subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum.
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.