The Green Bay Packers could have special-teams stalwart Jayrone Elliott back for Saturday night’s divisional-playoff game against Arizona.
The second-year outside linebacker said he’s expecting to practice on Wednesday after missing the past three games with a strained quadriceps muscle. While the injury sidelined him during last month’s 30-20 win over Oakland, Elliott said it's something he's been dealing with since around the bye week.
Needless to say, he's ready to get back on the field.
“I don’t want to sit on the sidelines anymore, man,” said Elliott with a smile. “I’ve never been a part of anything like that, sitting out three-and-a-half, four weeks. I was looking at the game from a whole different perspective and I’m ready to be back out there.”
When healthy, Elliott plays on all four special-team units. His 11 coverage tackles ranked third on special teams this season, according to the coaches’ statistics. Defensively, Elliott has made strides as an outside linebacker in finishing the season with 24 tackles, three sacks, a forced fumble and interception
It may be difficult for Elliott to immediately regain playing time on defense given the health and overall depth of the unit. The Packers sacked Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins six times in Sunday’s 35-18 wild-card win with Julius Peppers, Clay Matthews, Mike Neal, Nick Perry and Datone Jones all working into the rotation.
Regardless of his role, Elliott is hopeful that he’ll be available against the Cardinals.
“This is the best I’ve felt since early in the season. Maybe since San Diego,” Elliott said. “I feel good. I’m ready to go out and play. We’ll see how it goes this week.”
Despite the Saturday game, the Packers aren’t required to provide an injury report until Wednesday. Packers coach Mike McCarthy said he wouldn't know the full scope of the team’s injury situation until hitting the practice field. However, he acknowledged that cornerback Sam Shields remains in the concussion protocol.
Shields hasn’t played since hitting his head on the sideline against Dallas last month, but is expected to make a full recovery. He was in the locker room Tuesday, but unable to speak to reporters until he’s cleared by an independent neurologist.
David Bakhtiari’s situation also remains uncertain after the starting left tackle missed his third consecutive game Sunday with the ankle injury he suffered against the Raiders.
McCarthy sounded hopeful rookie cornerback Quinten Rollins’ outlook after he left midway through Sunday’s game with a quad injury. He’s started the last four games without Shields. The absence of either cornerback would hurt against the Cardinals and their litany of fast receivers.
“I hope so,” said McCarthy when asked if Rollins may be back. “It was a pretty big blow in the game when they told me about it. He’s been knocking it out of the park as far as the treatment and so forth. He will definitely do everything he can to play.”
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