Injured Packers Aaron Rodgers, Allen Lazard do not practice Wednesday
GREEN BAY – It wasn't exactly an ideal practice scenario for a team coming off a three-game losing streak that is preparing to play the best team in football.
Green Bay Packers coach Matt LaFleur said that quarterback Aaron Rodgers would not practice because of his sore right thumb and wide receiver Allen Lazard would not practice because of his injured shoulder. In addition, rookie receiver Christian Watson (hamstring) would be limited.
Rodgers clarified on Wednesday that his thumb isn't broken, just "hurt." Rodgers has been taking Wednesdays off to let his thumb heal since injuring it at the end of the New York Giants game Oct. 9. The quarterback did share after practice that he left rehab early and went to the practice field for team portions.
“I thought that was important,” he said. “Just as much as I need to do some treatment on my thumb, that was more important to be down there with the guys so they could hear my voice.”
He spent time calling out the plays, but did not run them.
So, it was backup Jordan Love at quarterback throwing mostly to veteran Sammy Watkins, who was limited due to his hamstring injury, and rookies Romeo Doubs, Samori Toure and Watson getting the bulk of the receiver reps. Second-year receiver Amari Rodgers and practice squad member Juwaan Winfree were the others.
“You don't want to wear these guys out either,” LaFleur said. “So, I think there’s a fine line on how we manage it. But the bottom line is we have to go out there and obviously we got a lot of things to clean up and the best way to do that is doing it full speed on the practice field.
“So we're just we have to manage it within each individual room and making sure that these guys are getting the recovery they need and also but also the work they need.”
Besides Lazard and Rodgers, the only other players not practicing were guard Elgton Jenkins (rest day), corner Shemar Jean-Charles (ankle) and outside linebacker Rashan Gary, who is in the concussion protocol. Gary was present and did take part in the team stretch.
The Green Bay offense has noticeably dropped Rodgers into shotgun more often this season, as opposed to putting Rodgers under center. On Wednesday, Rodgers maintained that was more to do with the offense wanting to run than to counteract his injured thumb. Going under center can knock the digit more, causing additional pain.
"I think we've been running the ball pretty good in the the gun," Rodgers said. "A lot of teams will have a check if you're in the gun, for a certain coverage, and a check if you're under center. And so some of that is trying to get the defense to play some more shell to give us lighter box to run. But I've told them I don't need any extra snaps in the gun, when it's game day. I'll deal with the pain and I can take a snap from under center. But we just kind of got in that direction a little bit more."
Rodgers taped his thumb for the second half of Sunday's game against the Washington Commanders. For now, his plan is to take it easy the rest of the week, but he isn't opposed to taping it before the game Sunday night against the Buffalo Bills.
"It definitely felt a little better in the second half (against Washington)," he said. "It felt pretty good leading up to the game. Every now and then there's a certain snap or play that might hurt it a little more. We'll see how it feels. I'm gonna go easy on some of the under-center snaps until later in the week and then, if it's feeling good, I probably won't tape it but if I need a little reinforcement I will."