Packers Jaire Alexander, David Bakhtiari don't practice Thursday, Christian Watson returns to full duty
GREEN BAY – The Green Bay Packers saw several changes on their Thursday injury report, the second of the week ahead of facing the New England Patriots on Sunday.
Rookie wide receiver Christian Watson (hamstring) was a full participant for the first time this week. Cornerback Jaire Alexander (groin), left tackle David Bakhtiari (knee) and tight end Marcedes Lewis (groin) did not participate Thursday. They joined offensive lineman Caleb Jones (illness) who did not practice Wednesday or Thursday.
The plan has been for Bakhtiari to take at least one day off each week. As he practiced Wednesday, albeit as a limited participant, it’s not surprising that he was held out of Thursday’s practice. Coach Matt LaFleur has made it clear he doesn’t want his All-Pro tackle to practice three straight days to avoid re-aggravating a knee that suffered multiple setbacks while recovering from an ACL tear.
LaFleur stated Thursday before practice that the “fluid plan” was to let Bakhtiari take off Thursday and have lineman Elgton Jenkins (knee) practice after the latter sat out team drills Wednesday. This allows the Packers to have at least one of their top-two linemen at practice at all times.
Alexander, who pulled his groin on the first drive of Sunday’s win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, was a limited participant Wednesday but did not take part in team drills Thursday. He went through the stretch period with teammates, but stayed inside the Don Hutson Center to work on his own when the team took to Clarke Hinkle Field.
He was seen in the locker room after practice, and seemed to indicate he was feeling fine, but his teammates were vague on whether they expected Alexander to play Sunday. When Alexander left the game last Sunday, Rasul Douglas moved to his spot outside, while Keisean Nixon came in to play Douglas’ spot at slot corner. As to whether that's the plan again Sunday against the Patriots, Douglas isn't certain.
"I might, maybe. That just all depends on what we're doing," Douglas said, "and where (Jaire's) at."
Watson’s hamstring pull kept him out of Sunday’s game against Tampa Bay and led him to be a limited participant Wednesday. His status upgrade Thursday is step one to him playing against the Patriots. Allen Lazard, who is nursing an ankle that was stepped on before the season opener, was a limited participant again Thursday.
Running back AJ Dillon (knee) and linebacker Jonathan Garvin (hip) were able to take full team drills Thursday, after being limited Wednesday.
The Packers practiced in shoulder pads Thursday, following a light day Wednesday. It’s part of an inverted schedule that LaFleur and staff implemented after a litany of soft-tissue injuries the first three weeks of the season.
“Just week to week,” LaFleur said as to when the decision is made. “In terms of kind of where we are with our players. Just coming off the game we had, just thought it was in the best interest of our guys to give them another day to more or less recover a little bit more before we hit the pads.”
In New England, Patriots quarterback Mac Jones continued to be held out of practice while recovering from a severe high ankle sprain. The assumption is that Jones will be unable to play Sunday. Defensive lineman Lawrence Guy (shoulder) and offensive lineman Yodny Cajuste (thumb) also were held out.
The Patriots saw limited participation from wide receiver Jakobi Myers (knee), corner Jalen Mills (hamstring), safety Adrian Phillips (ribs), linebacker Raekwon McMillian (thumb), defensive lineman Davon Godchaux (back), safety Kyle Dugger (knee) and safety Joshuah Bledsoe (groin).