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Cheese Curds, 12/7: Are the Packers’ reinforcements finally on the way?

Coming out of the bye, optimism is growing around Lambeau Field for the return of several star players. But don’t make any assumptions just yet.

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NFL: SEP 13 Packers at Vikings

The Green Bay Packers might just be getting several key players back for the stretch run of the 2021 regular season.

It’s no guarantee yet, and Wednesday’s practice will be a telling one for three of the team’s star players, but there’s a chance that the team could get any or all of its starting left tackle, #1 cornerback, and #1 pass-rusher back this week after the bye. That would be a massive shot in the arm for a team looking to make a late-season run at the top seed in the NFC in the hopes of getting another bye — this time through the Wild Card round of the playoffs.

Speaking of shots in the arm, COVID news continues to affect the Packers as well. While the team expects linebacker De’Vondre Campbell to return on Friday and just got outside linebacker Jonathan Garvin back off the reserve/COVID list, one other name has been added to that list: Jordan Love. The team’s backup QB is fully vaccinated, but even if he’s eligible to return for Sunday the team may want to roll with third-stringer Kurt Benkert instead as the gameday backup against the Bears.

Here’s a look at the various bits of injury and illness news around the Packers heading into Tuesday.

Packers ‘potentially’ getting injured star players back soon | Packers.com
Wednesday will be the big day for the trio of David Bakhtiari, Jaire Alexander, and Za'Darius Smith, as all three have a possibility of coming back this week.

Packers place QB Jordan Love on reserve/COVID-19 list | Packers Wire
It looks like the Packers will have to roll with Kurt Benkert as the backup quarterback this week against Chicago, though Love could theoretically return on Sunday since he is vaccinated.

O-line coach Adam Stenavich has deftly guided his unit through injury storm – The Athletic
Perhaps no assistant coach on this team deserves more praise than Stenavich, given the multitude of injuries his unit has dealt with. To put together a competent line with three starters out (two of them Pro Bowlers and one a multi-All Pro) is a job well done. If Bakhtiari does return, that likely helps make Stenavich’s job easier down the stretch, but center Josh Myers will still be out at least one more week.

2021 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year nominees unveiled | NFL.com
Aaron Jones gets the honor of being the Packers' nominee this season, a well-earned one for someone who has done a ton of charity and community work.

Tree that smells like rotting fish is so invasive states are offering bounties to kill it | WGME
Thanks, early 1900s America, for transplanting this tree that is now taking over much of the southern US. The tree's blossoms are really pretty! They also smell horrendous.