Packers receiver Davante Adams making plans to play despite ankle injury
GREEN BAY - Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams was not providing a guarantee he would play Sunday against Indianapolis, but he offered a historical perspective on the chances his injured ankle would keep him out.
“Any time where I feel like I can come back into a game like that, typically speaking my mindset going into the next week is that I’ll be able to roll,” Adams said Wednesday. “We’re doing all the things right, right now, to make sure I’m as pain-free and not limited come Sunday.
“That’s where we are.”
Adams wasn’t optimistic about his return to the game when he injured what appeared to be his right ankle and had to sit out a series in the Packers’ 24-20 victory over Jacksonville last Sunday. Adams didn’t say when he was injured, but it appeared he got his legs tangled up with cornerback C.J. Henderson on an incomplete deep pass early in the third quarter.
Adams went into the blue tent along the sideline and had his ankle re-taped. He felt he had a better chance of returning than he did when he pulled his hamstring against Detroit in Week 2 because of the nature of the injury.
But he had to prove to the medical staff he could do it.
“You know, it was more so just dealing with the pain of it in the moment and it’s definitely uncomfortable,” Adams said. “It’s definitely not a 911, but it’s something we had to pay attention to for sure. It was extremely uncomfortable.”
The Packers’ leading receiver said the frustration of losing a fumble earlier in the game – he called it his worst game this season – wasn’t the impetus for returning. He said he was more frustrated with being injured, especially with his ankle, something that affected him during a disappointing second season.
As someone who relies on his footwork more than his speed, Adams was not happy. He said he wanted to show another injury wasn’t going to keep him from finishing a game.
“Any time my ankles are limited, it’s going to be tough for me,” he said. “I knew I couldn’t stay out of that game after what I dealt with against Detroit earlier in the year coming out,” Adams said. “I kind of owed it to my teammates, myself and just wanted to get back out there and contribute the best that I could.”
Adams said it was adrenaline that allowed him to high-point the game-winning, 6-yard touchdown pass.
“I saw the ball in the air and I figured, ‘Just jump before you think about how it’s going to feel, either when you jump or when you hit the ground,’” he said. “I jumped up. At the time, I didn’t feel much as far as the pain. Just locked in.”
It has been weeks since the Packers' roster has been this healthy at practice, though which players will be available for Sunday remains uncertain.
Cornerback Jaire Alexander was limited in practice Wednesday, a sign he’s progressing through the concussion protocol. Alexander has not played since leaving the Packers game at San Francisco with a concussion earlier this month. He remains in the protocol.
Hopefully he’ll be available,” coach Matt LaFleur said.
Running back Tyler Ervin (wrist/ribs), receiver Equanimeous St. Brown (knee) and defensive lineman Montravius Adams (toe) did not participate in Wednesday’s practice, which was held on the new grass at Clark Hinkle Field. The Packers had been practicing at Ray Nitschke Field, their annual training camp field on the opposite side of the Don Hutson Center, while Hinkle Field’s surface was being refurbished. Now the surface at Nitschke Field is under construction.
Cornerback Kevin King (quad) was a full participant in practice. It’s unclear if King can return Sunday, but he and Alexander being available would be a big boost to the Packers defense against Colts quarterback Philip Rivers.
Receiver Allen Lazard was limited in practice. Lazard was activated from injured reserve Tuesday after having core muscle surgery earlier this season. If Lazard plays Sunday, it’s unclear how big of a role he’ll have.
“We’re certainly going to have to ease him back in,” LaFleur said, “and whether or not he’s available, we’ll see. The last thing you want to do is put somebody out here in a situation where you could lose him for a longer period of time, or it just slows down their progress.”
Bakhtiari sneaky about QB sneak
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers considers left tackle David Bakhtiari a close friend. There’s just one problem: Bakhtiari, Rodgers said, is spreading a nasty rumor around the Packers' building.
In ribbing his buddy Wednesday, Rodgers joked that his blindside blocker has been telling offensive line coach Adam Stenavich and assistant offensive line coach Luke Butkus that the Packers quarterback can’t run quarterback sneaks. It always has been an infrequent play for Rodgers. The Packers have only called for it once this season, but Rodgers picked up a first down with it at Minnesota.
“I got, like, two and a half yards,” Rodgers said proudly.
Regardless, Rodgers has never been known for the quarterback sneak. He memorably fumbled a quarterback sneak at the Atlanta Falcons late in the 2010 regular season. Since then, Rodgers believes, he has had a bad reputation for sneaks.
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“I think (left tackle Chad Clifton) knocked it out of my hands,” Rodgers said. “Obviously I fumbled. I'm not gonna blame it on Big Cliff, I don't know why he was swinging that big ol’ right paw around so much, but I did fumble, and I think I've gotten a bad rap since then.”
Now, Rodgers said, the “bad rap” is being perpetuated by another Packers offensive lineman.
“David Bakhtiari has not helped at all,” Rodgers joked. “Here I am thinking this is one of my closest friends on the team and he's whispering in Steno's ear, 'Hey, he can't sneak it. He's not good at sneaking.' Also I've sneaked twice with torn calves and also gotten first downs and Dave hasn't been there to bring those clips up, either.
“I might need to have a little side conversation with Steno and Butkus because Dave's been undermining me big time talking about how I'm too old to sneak it anymore.”
Long road back
Sixth-round pick Simon Stepaniak tore his ACL way back in December while practicing for Indiana’s appearance in the Gator Bowl.
On Wednesday, the rookie offensive lineman returned to the field for the first time.
The Packers drafted Stepaniak knowing he wouldn’t be ready for training camp and so they put him on the non-football injury list and let him rehab. He hasn’t counted against the 53-man roster and won’t as long as the Packers choose to use the 21-day roster exemption once he begins practicing.
The Packers will have the option of activating him or putting him on season-ending injured reserve anytime during the 21 days.
“He did a good job today,” offensive line coach Adam Stenavich said. “We’ll just keep building him up because the more guys you can have that can come in and help you out down the road, that’s going to be invaluable.”