Packers practice report: Aaron Jones, Christian Watson in; Aaron Rodgers, many others out

Kassidy Hill
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
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GREEN BAY − It would almost be easier to list who was practicing Wednesday for the Green Bay Packers than who wasn’t. The list was long and included a litany of starters, as the Packers prepare to welcome the Dallas Cowboys this weekend. In total, 17 players appeared on Wednesday's injury report.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers was not practicing, as has been the case for all but one Wednesday the past month. He has spent most Wednesdays the past few weeks rehabbing the injured thumb on his throwing hand. He was listed on Wednesday's injury report with the thumb injury. 

"I'll be out there (Thursday). I threw last week and didn't feel like it was a positive for me going into Sunday," Rodgers said Wednesday. "So felt like today was better to do rehab up here (in the facility), then go down and watch practice once the team started. But it was better for me to get that hour and a half up here than down there throwing the football."

Others not practicing were receiver Sammy Watkins (knee), receiver Randall Cobb, receiver Romeo Doubs (ankle), corner Eric Stokes (ankle/knee), corner Shemar Jean-Charles (ankle), linebacker Krys Barnes (concussion), linebacker Rashan Gary (knee), linebacker De’Vondre Campbell (knee), left tackle David Bakhtiari (knee) and offensive lineman Elgton Jenkins (knee). 

Cobb (hamstring) is on injured reserve. Gary, who tore his ACL on Sunday in a loss to the Detroit Lions, was placed there Wednesday. The status of Stokes (ankle/knee) and Doubs (ankle) is unknown at this time. Both were injured Sunday. 

Coach Matt LaFleur didn’t have detailed updates on either when meeting with media Wednesday. Regarding Stokes, LaFleur said, “hopefully we’ll know something later in the week.” LaFleur did tell reporters Monday that other than Gary, Stokes was the player he was most concerned about possibly suffering a long-term injury. 

Speaking to reporters in the locker room Wednesday, Stokes said he wasn't sure yet what his final prognosis would be but would know "hopefully by the end of the week."

The second-year corner said he wasn't sure what happened in Detroit to cause the injury.

"I have no idea, I blacked out," Stokes said. "But I've seen the film of it. Foot got stuck behind and couple of people landed on top of me with my foot behind me."

Campbell left the Week 8 loss against the Buffalo Bills with a knee injury and did not play against the Lions. Barnes was injured at Detroit on a helmet-to-helmet hit. Bakhtiari and Jenkins played at Detroit but are perpetually in a “fluid” situation, as LaFleur calls it, when it comes to their practice schedules and game availability due to knee soreness after previous ACL tears. 

Watkins spent four weeks on injured reserve with a hamstring injury but has been back on the field the past three weeks. His injury is unknown, but after a season peppered with them, LaFleur said, the Packers are remaining patient with the veteran receiver. 

“I think Sammy is, he is a warrior,” LaFleur said Wednesday. “I think he's battling through some bumps and bruises and I think that tends to hinder your ability to go out there and be the type of receiver that we all know he is; and not to say that it's been bad. He hasn't gotten a lot of opportunity either. So you know, he's a guy that we're hoping that we can get him healthy, back where he was. And, you know, we'll just, we'll see where it goes.”

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Notably, receiver Christian Watson (concussion protocol) and running back Aaron Jones (ankle) both were practicing Wednesday as full participants. Jones left Sunday’s game with an ankle injury and did not return. He told reporters after the game he wanted to go back in but appreciated the training staff looking out for him. 

Watson, who suffered a concussion following the first drive against the Bills, was pulled from the Lions game after a hard hit. LaFleur told reporters Monday that Watson didn’t receive a hit to the head, which is why the rookie asked to return to the game. But extra precaution around Watson after his previous concussion is what led the training staff to keep him off the field Sunday. 

LaFleur reiterated the point Wednesday: "That was on us. We held him and that was strictly kind of where we’re at with the times. But he didn’t even get hit in the head, he got hit in the shoulder. That’s why he was adamant that he was fine.” 

Other limited participants were kicker Mason Crosby (back), corner Rasul Douglas (calf), wide receiver Allen Lazard (shoulder), guard Jon Runyan (knee) and linebacker Preston Smith (neck).

In Dallas, the Cowboys were without linebacker Anthony Barr (hamstring). Running back Ezekiel Elliot (knee), receiver Noah Brown (foot) and safety Donovan Wilson (tooth) were limited participants.

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