While it looked like the Packers escaped the blowout against the Philadelphia Eagles unscathed, the injury report published on Wednesday told a different story.
Clay Matthews: Matthews was a limited participant in practice due to a groin injury; it’s possible that Matthews injury occurred late enough in the game that it was just assumed that he was being benched due to the score. Matthews has a history of injuries but also a history of playing well through injuries and Matthews’ comments seem to indicate that he’s likely to play in some capacity against the Vikings. Another positive note is that Matthews injured his groin previously in week 4 and was able to play against the Bears the week afterwards. It should be remembered that Matthews has played in games after not participating in practices in the past, so his presence on the practice field is a good indication of his availability on Sunday; expect to see Matthews start at either inside or outside linebacker, but it is possible that Matthews will be on a snap count as the Packers try to manage his injury.
Jarrett Bush: Another mysterious groin injury, Bush did not participate in practice on Wednesday and not much has been reported on his injury. While Bush doesn’t play many snaps on defense, he is the leader of the special teams unit and has been a very consistent player so it will be interesting to see what effect his loss has on the kick and punt units should he miss the game. It’s actually pretty hard to guess who exactly would replace Bush should he be inactive against the Vikings; the direct replacement would probably be rookie cornerback Dmitri Patterson, who has been inactive every game or rookie inside linebacker Carl Bradford. However just having more speedy rookies won’t replace Bush’s experience at gunner and I’m not entirely sure who would replace him on the edge.
Nick Perry: Perry suffered a shoulder injury against the Vikings and while he has been viewed somewhat as a bust since being drafted in the 1st round; Perry’s availability and above average play was one of the reasons why the Packers were able to shift Clay Matthews into the middle. Mike McCarthy’s comments on Perry were not all that promising; instead of commenting on Perry’s availability McCarty only stated how important Perry is to the pass rush rotation (Keep in ind this is a coach who decidedly is not a doctor and almost always has optimisitic things to say about his injured players). Without Perry in the rotation it will be interesting to see if Matthews gets more time on the outside or Mike Neal gets the majority of snaps outside alongside Julius Peppers; Matthews was asked about the loss of Perry and stated that Jayrone Elliot and Mike Neal will probably see more time at outside linebacker over himself, which is curious considering Elliott is also on the injury report.
Jayrone Elliott: A surprise addition to the injury report after the Bears game, but add another player to the hamstring injury list. Due to the lopsided score, Elliot made his 2nd NFL appearance (ironically, Elliott’s first appearance was also against the Bears), logging in a grand total of 4 snaps while still contributing to special teams. On a positive note, Elliot practiced on Wednesday as a limited participant and based on Matthews’ comments figures to see some more playing time on the regular defense.
Brandon Bostick: Bostick injured his hip after scoring his first touchdown against the Bears last week and has not practiced since. Bostick also becomes one of the rare players that Mike McCarthy has ruled out right away and it likely means that either his recovery has been very slow or he hasn’t been rehabilitating his body better enough. Either way it’s been a very disappointing season for a player who at one time was the heir apparent to Jermichael Finley; since then his lack of focus on offense and the injury have essentially left him as the odd man out in the tight end rotation; while Andrew Quarless and Richard Rodgers haven’t been world beaters by any means, both have played fairly well and will continue to see more time on the field at the expense of Bostick.
Josh Sitton & TJ Lang: Lang suffered an ankle injury during the first series of the 1st quarter against the Saints while Sitton’s suffered a torn ligament in his left big toe in the same game. Luckily both were able to take the night off early with another blowout win, but its unlikely that they will be getting many more opportunities to rest. Sitton and Lang both appear to be dealing with injuries fairly well, both grading out well despite their injuries. Both have also settled into “recovery” practice schedule of not participating on Wednesday and then practicing in a limited fashion on Thursday before their recovery day on Friday. Both are likely to stay with this pattern for the remainder of the season and it’s like that both will have to undergo surgery (Sitton almost certainly) in the offseason. Should either player’s injury get to the point where they can’t play, JC Tretter and Lane Taylor both look to be the next man up and luckily both have gotten playing time with the blowouts.
In a stroke of either good or bad luck, no Packers player moved off the injury report this week; on the bright side that means a lot of players are healthy, on the flip side, it means injured players are still injured.
Thomas Hobbes is a staff writer for Jersey Al’s AllGreenBayPackers.com.