Packers WR Nelson's playoff availability in question
1/9/2017 8:34:00 PM
The Green Bay Packers' seventh straight victory - and their most important win, to date - didn't come without a potentially tough break.
Speculation is rampant that star receiver Jordy Nelson (NFL-best 14 touchdowns) could miss what's left of the postseason for red-hot Green Bay.
Nelson had to be carted off the field and spent Sunday night in a Green Bay hospital after he was injured in the Packers' 38-13 rout of the New York Giants in the wild-card round of the playoffs.
Head coach Mike McCarthy confirmed in his day-after news conference Monday that Nelson has a rib injury. McCarthy, though, wouldn't say any more on the extent of the damage to Nelson, who took a big hit to his left side as a pass thrown to him was broken up in the first half of the game.
Various reports on Monday alluded to Nelson having significant internal damage, including rib and lung, that could jeopardize his availability for Green Bay's next game and any possible playoff contests thereafter. The fourth-seeded Packers will play at the top-seeded Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.
McCarthy said Nelson rejoined the team Monday, getting treatment at its Lambeau Field facilities.
"Talking with the medical staff, he's going to be in the rehab group through Friday," McCarthy said. "And, then Saturday, if he can practice, then he may have a chance" to play Sunday.
"But, we're not going to do anything (with him) until Saturday. I'll probably know more about where Jordy stands come Friday."
McCarthy emphasized that if Nelson doesn't practice Saturday before the team leaves for North Texas, he won't play Sunday.
Nelson was knocked out of Sunday's game when Giants safety Leon Hall led with his helmet as he struck the wideout along the sideline. Though no flag was thrown, Hall's hit was later deemed to be illegal and figures to warrant a fine from the league office.
"Yeah, it would be a huge loss for us, obviously," quarterback Aaron Rodgers said after the game about the prospect of not having Nelson going forward.
Even after losing Nelson early in the second quarter, the Packers' offense erupted just before halftime after a slow start.
Rodgers threw two of his four touchdowns in the final 2 1/2 minutes of the half, highlighted by a 42-yard Hail Mary pass caught by Randall Cobb in the back of the end zone on the final play, as Green Bay jumped ahead 14-6.
The Packers scored the last 24 points of the game after the Giants briefly closed the gap to 14-13 in the third quarter.
Playing for the first time in three games after being out with an ankle injury, Cobb had five catches for 116 yards. He tied a league record in the playoffs with three touchdown receptions.
Davante Adams came through with eight catches for 125 yards and a touchdown.
"No one can really replace what Jordy does and Jordy's production. He's a special player," veteran right tackle Bryan Bulaga said. "Guys just have to step up when their number is called and make plays, and they did (Sunday)."
Rodgers is optimistic the Packers can weather a potential loss of Nelson for at least a game with enough depth at receiver to upset the Cowboys and advance to the NFC Championship.
"Randall being back healthy ... we're better with (him) on the field, and he showed it (Sunday), made a ton of plays for us," Rodgers said. "He was excellent. And, having him out there is going to help. But, you know, (rookie) Geronimo (Allison) is going to have to step up and play extended time if Jordy is going to be out."