Montgomery ready for whatever role awaits him

Weston Hodkiewicz
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Ty Montgomery doesn’t know if he’ll play or not this Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys, but the Green Bay Packers rookie receiver fully intends on getting back on the field this season.

“I’m definitely confident I can eventually get back out there,” Montgomery said Wednesday.

Although he never worried about what would happen, Montgomery wondered whether the Packers would wait for his high-ankle sprain to heal or put him on injured reserve with roster spots at a premium on a banged-up team.

It’s been nearly two months since Montgomery injured his ankle in the second quarter against San Diego. He was nearing a return last month before aggravating it again in practice on Nov. 19. The rookie receiver has now missed six consecutive games.

Montgomery returned to practice this week on a limited basis Tuesday and Wednesday. How much he’s able to do during Thursday’s padded practice could go a long way in determining his availability for Sunday.

“All injuries are different, but mentally you’ve just got to stay focused, you’ve got to stay locked in,” Montgomery said. “No matter people say about you or the amount of time you’ve been sitting out, you’ve got to know your body and you’ve got to stay confident, and you’ve got to make the best decision for you because it doesn’t do any good to go out there and hurt it worse or to go out there and not be able to do what you’re supposed to do.”

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Montgomery isn’t sure what role awaits him whenever he does return to the field. He was the team’s kickoff returner and No. 4 receiver before his injury. His tweener skill set made him a nice change of pace as an extra receiver motioning out of the backfield.

The 6-foot, 216-pound receiver was averaging 31.1 yards per kickoff return before his injury, but second-year receiver Jeff Janis (35.2) has filled in nicely in his absence. Montgomery also had 15 catches for 136 yards and two touchdowns in six games.

The Packers’ 23rd-ranked passing offense could use a boost. His potential return would give the offense a trio of receivers – along with Janis and Jared Abbrederis – to rotate in behind starters Randall Cobb, Davante Adams and James Jones.

Besides Jordy Nelson, the Packers haven’t had their full complement of receivers available since Adams turned his ankle against Kansas City in Week 3.

“I just can’t wait to get back out there,” Montgomery said. “I have to continue to make strides and do my part. My role may have diminished a little bit. I’m expecting it will. I just have to stay in my role, stay in my lane.”

Extra points

Center Corey Linsley was the only player who didn’t practice for the Packers on Wednesday. He also sat out Tuesday after aggravating his right sprained ankle in the first half against Detroit.

Left guard Josh Sitton (back), right tackle Bryan Bulaga (ankle), right guard T.J. Lang (shoulder), shoulder Nick Perry (shoulder) and linebacker Clay Matthews (ankle) were all limited. Left tackle David Bakhtiari (knee) and cornerback Damarious Randall (hamstring) were both full participants.

Bulaga, who’s also played through a knee injury for most of the year, said he’ll continue to test the ankle in practice before a final determination is made about his availability. Right now, he’s feeling better after the long weekend.

“It was definitely good to get a little extra time to heal up, rest and get some extra treatment and take a little breather before this last quarter of the season,” Bulaga said.

Tight end Andrew Quarless (knee), who’s currently on temporary injured reserve, also continued to practice.

-Arizona coach Bruce Arians told local reporters on Tuesday that the Packers/Cardinals game on Dec. 27 is unlikely to be flexed out of its 3:25 p.m. Central Time start time because FOX is planning to protect it.

The NFL announced earlier this week that the Cardinals’ Week 15 game against Philadelphia has been flexed to Sunday Night Football from its original afternoon start time.

-If injuries on the offensive line kept piling up against Detroit, long-snapper Brett Goode would have been the next man up. The team’s four reserve linemen, Don Barclay, Lane Taylor, JC Tretter and Josh Walker, all played against the Lions.

“At one point, we were kind of one injury away from Brett Goode being out there at emergency center for us, but guys battled,” said quarterback Aaron Rodgers. “I’m really proud of them, but obviously you’d like to have everybody healthy for this important run.” and follow him on Twitter @WesHod.

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