Knee injury limits Aaron Rodgers' participation in Packers' practice

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GREEN BAY - There were no signs in the early part of practice Friday that Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was affected by a knee injury that popped up on the injury report Thursday evening.

The report came after Rodgers spoke to the media, so reporters weren’t aware there was anything wrong with him.

The Friday practice was an opportunity to see if he might not be working, but he was doing all the normal drills during the part of practice that is open to the media. Practice is closed when the team goes into team drills, so it’s not clear how much work Rodgers did.

He was listed as limited Thursday, which means he didn’t take all of the snaps he normally would. The Friday injury report listed him as a limited participant as well.

Coach Matt LaFleur wouldn’t say how many snaps Rodgers took in practice, but he said he was fine with backing off on his work if that’s what the medical staff suggested. There is no definition for being a “limited participant” other than not taking part in a normal amount of work.

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) stands on the sideline in the first half of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019.

“I’m going to always listen to our players and if something doesn’t feel quite right, then we’re going to be cautious with them,” LaFleur said. “Typically, the starting quarterback most places I’ve been has taken the majority of the reps, if not all of them. That’s pretty standard.

“But, here’s a guy that’s played a lot of football. So, it does give you like a good feeling that he does not have to have every rep to be fully prepared."

Wide receiver Davante Adams (toe) was present but not practicing. Also not practicing was safety Darnell Savage (ankle), cornerback Tony Brown (hamstring) and tight end Robert Tonyan (hip).

Center Corey Linsley (concussion) was practicing in pads, so he has either been cleared to play or is close to it.

Savage was out of the walking boot on his left ankle, but he wasn’t saying much about his availability Monday against the Detroit Lions. He said he did feel lucky that the injury wasn’t worse, given how his leg got twisted.

“After watching the play and stuff like that, I’m just glad what it could have been,” he said.  “It’s just my ankle pretty much. It could have been a knee or anything.”

Kenny Clark, Aaron Jones fined

Nose tackle Kenny Clark said the NFL informed him he was being fined $10,527 for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty he committed against the Dallas Cowboys last week.

Clark was flagged after pushing down a Cowboys offensive lineman at the end of a play in the fourth quarter.

Clark said there was a lot of chatter between the two teams, especially after the Packers took a big lead and he took offense to one of the comments.

“I have to do a better job of holding my emotions in check,” he said.

Clark said he would appeal the fine to try to get it reduced. Last week, he was fined $21,056 for a late hit on Philadelphia quarterback Carson Wentz.

 “I’ve been playing for free the last two weeks,” Clark said.

Running back Aaron Jones also said he was fined $10,527 for taunting as a result of waving at cornerback Byron Jones on his way to the end zone.

Asked if it was worth it, Jones said: “I can’t say it was worth it but the picture is a dope picture. I can’t argue with that. I’m going to have that blown up one day in my house. I definitely got a nice picture out of it, but it hurts my pocket a little bit. I want that money."

Jones said he would appeal the fine to see if he could get it reduced.

Safety zone

Kicker Mason Crosby said he won’t shirk his duties when it comes to tackling on kickoffs, but he would like to avoid the kind of hits he took against the Cowboys and Denver Broncos.

“I need to make better kickoffs,” he said of preventing the collisions in those two games that caused him considerable discomfort.

In the Broncos game, a blocker drilled him from the side as he attempted to make a tackle on a long return and on the play in Dallas, returner Tony Pollard kneed him in the left hip as he made a diving tackle along the Cowboys sideline.

Crosby limped off the field with the assistance of trainers but returned to make all his kicks.

“I’m one of the 11, so if it gets past everybody, I’m the guy who has to make the tackle,” Crosby said. “That’s just part of my job description.”

Anatomy of a catch

First thing Robert Tonyan saw was the football suspended in midair, traveling toward him near the sideline in AT&T Stadium.

He missed what happened before that: Rodgers stepping up to avoid the rush, stopping on a dime as two Cowboys defenders bore down on him, then flinging a pass out to the Packers tight end.

All Tonyan knew was the play had been going for a while. With Rodgers, that meant he needed to improvise.

“I just had a chip into the flat,” Tonyan said. “With Aaron, who likes to extend plays, you kind of have to think about anything that could happen. So I just felt as though someone was going to come off onto me, come in attached to me as I went to the flat. So I was hoping that Aaron could, if possible, if he doesn’t make the first read, if he went to extend the play, I could run up the sideline.

“Sure enough, when I went up the sideline, the ball was in the air. It was like, ‘I’d just thought about it right before that.’ It was crazy.”

Tonyan’s 23-yard reception in the first quarter helped set up the Packers’ second touchdown drive, a critical score that pushed them to an early 14-0 lead. It was a highlight play on both ends, with Tonyan leaping over Cowboys safety Xavier Woods and managing to stay in bounds.

After the catch, Tonyan rose from the field and pointed to signal first down. Then he started to run back to the huddle.

That’s when he felt the pain in his hip.

“Took a hard fall,” Tonyan said, “and then didn’t feel right after that.”

Tonyan left he game with a bruised hip and didn’t return. He hasn’t practiced this week, leaving the Packers with two healthy tight ends.

Tonyan, who’s never missed a football game at any level because of injury, said he doesn’t plan to miss Monday night’s kickoff against the Lions. He also knows his availability might not be up to him. Much of it depends on how his hip responds to the constant treatment he’s getting this week.

“We’re going to just see,” Tonyan said. “I’m taking it day by day, getting better, progressing. I’m going to game plan as if I’m playing Monday. That’s my goal, and everyone is on board for it.”

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