Randall Cobb was back on the practice field Wednesday, a little more than a week after the Green Bay Packers receiver sprained the AC joint in his right shoulder in a preseason game against Philadelphia.
Cobb participated in limited fashion, but it’s a promising sign that he’ll be ready for Sunday’s regular-season opener against Chicago. If you ask Cobb, there is no scenario that he won’t be playing against the Bears.
Still, Cobb understands it’s unlikely that he’ll be back to 100 percent. He’s prepared to weather the hits he takes at Soldier Field.
“Obviously, I’m going to feel it,” Cobb said. “But it’s a pain that I can play through and I’ll be fine. I’m going to have moments, I’m sure, but I’ll push through it and I’ll find a way.
“I’ll be out on the field Sunday. I’m not letting my teammates down. I’m going to be out there every play that I can.”
The Packers re-signed veteran James Jones this week to help replace Jordy Nelson, but Cobb remains the biggest playmaker in the Packers’ offense. He’s been especially productive against the Bears with 23 catches for 410 yards and five touchdowns in seven games that have all resulted in Packer victories.
Cobb injured the shoulder on the third offensive play against the Eagles on Aug. 30. It occurred when Philadelphia defensive back Eric Rowe landed on top of Cobb, who fell awkwardly to the turf after trying to make the sideline grab.
The 25-year-old receiver said he understands the risks involved with playing football, seeing the effects firsthand. He was on the field when safety Nick Collins and tight end Jermichael Finely played their final snaps.
Sunday’s biggest challenge will be dealing with a range of motion that still “isn’t where I want it to be.” The fact he may need to play through the pain for a few more weeks is a scenario he’s mentally prepared for.
“I’m going to do my best not to take those shots, I’m going to do my best to be smart with it,” Cobb said. “Still play fearlessly, but be smart in trying to control what I can control. I can’t control a guy falling on top of me but maybe I can control the way that I fall. And an instance, obviously it’s going to be something I have to deal with, but I’ll be fine.”
Cobb, who’s coming off his first Pro Bowl season, takes over as the unquestioned No. 1 receiver in the Packers’ offense with Nelson out for the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament. Seeing him grit his teeth and return to the practice field Wednesday came as no surprise to quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
“It means he’s a Packer,” Rodgers said. “That’s how we do things. We lace it up, we put our bodies on the line for our team. It was a tough injury for him, especially playing three plays in a game that didn’t count in the win-loss column. But he’s done a good job with his rehab and we’re hopefully he’s going to be feeling better as the week progresses.”
Cobb and inside linebacker Sam Barrington (ankle) were both limited on Wednesday. Safety Morgan Burnett (calf) was the only player who didn’t participate. Guard T.J. Lang (concussion), receiver Ty Montgomery (hamstring), cornerback Demetri Goodson (calf) and defensive back Micah Hyde (neck spasms) all returned.
Linebacker Clay Matthews also said he's feeling good after missing the first two preseason games with a knee injury and elbow issue. He was a healthy scratch in the preseason finale against the Saints and feels the time off helped him stay fresh for the start of the regular season.
“I'm feeling great," Matthews said. "Did you see me at practice today? I was all over the place. On the inside, outside. I feel good. I really do."
— firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @WesHod.