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Packers activate Kirksey from injured reserve, elevate 4 from practice squad

Allen Lazard will need to wait one more week before coming off injured reserve.

NFL: Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Allen Lazard will not be back in time for a revenge game against the team he played for when first entering the NFL.

On Saturday, the Green Bay Packers chose not to activate Lazard from injured reserve, meaning he will remain inactive for the team’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday. Lazard signed with Jacksonville as an free agent after he was not selected in the 2018 NFL Draft, and he stuck around on their practice squad until the Packers signed him away late that season. Since then, he has become an important contributor to the Green Bay offense but he will not start in the two teams’ week 10 meeting. Lazard must come off injured reserve next week or else the team will forfeit their ability to bring him back this season.

Instead, the Packers brought just one player back to the active roster from injured reserve: linebacker Christian Kirksey, whose last game action also came against New Orleans. Kirksey signed with the Packers this offseason to be the team’s starting middle linebacker, and he had played every defensive snap prior to his injury. In his absence, the Packers have turned to first- and second-year players like Krys Barnes, Ty Summers, and Kamal Martin at that position.

On Friday, head coach Matt LaFleur indicated that both Lazard and Kirksey would be game-time decisions, but he sounded more optimistic about Kirksey’s availability. This move all but assures that Kirksey will be active and in the starting lineup on Sunday.

Due to two players currently residing on the reserve/COVID-19 list, the Packers had two roster spots open for these two players, so no matching roster transactions are needed. However, the team did open up a roster spot for Kirksey, moving tight end/fullback John Lovett to injured reserve. Lovett reportedly suffered a torn ACL in practice this week and will be out for the remainder of the season.

As a result, the Packers were able to elevate four players from the practice squad for gameday — two as emergency COVID replacements and two as standard elevations. Safety Henry Black should make his fourth appearance as a Packer, as he and wide receiver Juwann Winfree were designated as the COVID-19 replacement players. Meanwhile, the Packers used their standard elevation designations on a pair of cornerbacks, Stanford Samuels and KeiVarae Russell. Samuels was active last week as well, while Russell is a fairly recent addition to the organization.

Based on the positions of these players, it appears likely that the Packers will not have the services of one or both of their starting cornerbacks on Sunday. Jaire Alexander was listed as doubtful with a concussion on Friday’s injury report, while Kevin King is questionable with a quad injury that has cost him the last four games. Look for at least one of Samuels and Russell — likely both — to suit up, even if King is able to play.