GREEN BAY - Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy is not ruling out receiver Jordy Nelson and plans to give him, receivers Davante Adams and Geronimo Allison, and safety Morgan Burnett until game time to prove they're healthy enough to play.
The Packers do not practice today but there are meetings, rehab and training activities going on all day.
Nelson is not at the facility, McCarthy said, because of illness, but he expected him to be at practice Saturday.
"They will be given every chance to play in the game, so if we know tomorrow, we’ll know tomorrow," McCarthy said. "If we know Sunday, we’ll know Sunday. I’m going to give these guys the open timeframe to do everything they can today. So probably maybe one or two of those guys may have to work Sunday before the game."
Nelson took part in pre-practice drills Thursday, running routes and catching passes in skeleton drills with no one covering him. It was part of the rehab process and also a chance for the medical staff and Nelson to see how much pain his broken ribs would give him doing football activities.
It's an important step in returning, but it's far from being the last.
"I’ll just say he practiced more yesterday than we anticipated," McCarthy said. "Making progress. Really Davante the same way, and Geronimo. All three of the receivers will be given every chance to play in the game. So they have work to do, particularly in the area of rehab between now and the game."
McCarthy said that safety Morgan Burnett (thigh) was in the same boat as the others.
Because there's no practice, the players will have a full day of working with the training staff without missing anything. The Packers' final practice of the week is Saturday before they board a 2 p.m. flight to Atlanta. McCarthy is hoping some of the injured will be able to take part in that workout.
"Really today was the most important day for those three guys, so really the information that comes out of the training room today will give us a better idea where we are,"
McCarthy also revealed that center JC Tretter had surgery on his right knee Tuesday. Tretter injured his knee against Atlanta in Week 8 and suffered a setback in his recovery several weeks ago.
McCarthy said he knew of no imminent roster moves. The Packers could put Tretter on injured reserve and activate one of their practice squad wide receivers, Max McCaffrey or Antwan Goodley, or they could activate newly signed cornerback Bene' Benwikere.
The likelihood of some combination of Nelson, Adams, Allison and Burnett working out before the game is pretty high. Nelson, because of the seriousness of the injury, could be declared out on Saturday if it's clear he is unable to protect his ribs.
McCarthy said any of the four could be cleared medically, but it doesn't mean he would play. Not only do the doctors have to give their OK, the coaches have to be sure they're not putting someone out on the field who can't contribute or gets hurt immediately.
"There’s a little bit of a gap there," McCarthy said. "I would say, Geronimo for instance, we’ve never been through this with him, so we have no injury history with Geronimo. So, he’s going to have to prove himself at a higher level than say, Jordy, because there’s history there and we know what he’s capable of doing.
"Same with Morgan. You just have to work through that."