GREEN BAY – At the end of Monday’s open locker room session with the media, Green Bay Packers rookie cornerback Jaire Alexander jogged across the room without limping to retrieve something from his locker.
So Alexander’s absence from Monday’s practice because of a groin injury indeed appeared to be only precautionary. Alexander said he tweaked his groin his first time covering a deep route Saturday in the Packers annual Family Night practice. He did not take any reps the rest of practice, and his availability for Thursday’s preseason opener against Tennessee would seem unlikely.
But Alexander said his groin feels “pretty good” and the injury isn’t major.
“They definitely want to take these precautionary measures,” Alexander said, “especially because it’s preseason. If this was a playoff game, who knows? It’d probably be a different story.”
PACKERS PODCAST:Defense being put to the test
YOU'RE THE GM: Craft your 2018 Packers with Roster Builder
Alexander wasn’t the only defensive back held out Monday. Second-year cornerback Kevin King missed practice because of a right shoulder injury. The severity of King’s injury is unclear, but he has a history of left shoulder injuries. It was a year ago during training camp when King’s left shoulder dislocated, leading to a chronic problem throughout the season that eventually required surgery and led to him being placed on injured reserve.
Safety Kentrell Brice returned to practice less than a week after being carted off the field with an ankle injury. Brice went down during a special teams drill July 31. He did not take team reps Monday and appeared to drop out, removing his shoulder pads by the end of practice.
Brice was placed on injured reserve last season with an ankle injury. He needed “ankle reconstruction” surgery last November after tearing his deltoid ligament. Brice said he was initially concerned he broke his ankle, but X-rays showed no break.
“Immediately what went through my mind was I just had surgery in November,” Brice said. “I’m not trying to do this again. I just started praying.
“It wasn’t broken, so it was a positive outlook. Once they told me it wasn’t fractured or broken, I just started walking on it. I figured sprain, bruise, something like that. I’ll be all right.”
Devante Mays feels fortunate that the hamstring injury he suffered in practice Friday wasn’t worse, but the Packers' second-year running back will probably be held back for a bit so it doesn’t turn into something worse.
Mays’ backfield mate, Aaron Jones, has also been sidelined with a hamstring injury since early in camp and the medical staff has not yet cleared him to return. Jones thought he would be back last week, but the Packers tend to be cautious with hamstring injuries.
“It’s nothing major,” Mays said Monday. “It’s a small tweak. It’s a small pull. If I had to play this week, I definitely would.”
With Mays and Jones sidelined, general manager Brian Gutekunst signed street free-agent running back Akeem Judd, who spent part of last year on the New York Jets practice squad but was released in May.
Judd was an undrafted free agent out of Mississippi last year. He rushed for 826 yards as a senior and averaged 5.0 yards per carry.
In a series of roster moves, the Packers placed linebacker Jake Ryan and linebacker C.J. Johnson on injured reserve and released guard Ethan Cooper.
According to Mays, Jones is very close to returning to the field, which means he could be back at practice as early as Tuesday. The Packers play their first exhibition game Thursday against Tennessee, but it’s questionable whether Jones would play even if he were cleared this week.
Before Judd was signed, the only healthy running backs the Packers had were starter Jamaal Williams, veteran Ty Montgomery and first-year free agent Joel Bouagnon.
Coach Mike McCarthy understandably won’t want to overwork Williams and Montgomery and so Judd will probably receive a crash course so he can play against the Titans. McCarthy’s options at fullback are limited, too, because Joe Kerridge dropped out of practice after aggravating a right shoulder injury.
Mays said that when he does get back, he feels he’ll be able to pick up where he left off.
“I think things were going pretty well,” Mays said. “Special teams was going well and running the plays was going well, too. I feel like they do (know me) to a certain extent, but on the other hand, I feel like they don’t fully know.
“So, it’s kind of hard.”