According to the league transaction report acquired by Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2 in Houston, the Green Bay Packers officially designated inside linebacker Krys Barnes for return on Wednesday. Barnes has been on the injured reserve since Week 2 after he was carted off the field in the season-opener against the Minnesota Vikings with a high ankle sprain.
Based on the NFL’s rules, each team is allowed to activate eight players per season off the injured reserve. The Packers have used up one of those slots with receiver Sammy Watkins already and Barnes appears to be on course to take the second opportunity off the board. Green Bay also has four other players, outside linebacker Tipa Galeai, safety Vernon Scott, offensive lineman Jake Hanson and receiver Randall Cobb, currently on the injured reserve.
According to Ryan Wood of the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Barnes began practicing with the team on Wednesday which begins his three-week window to return to the team. If Barnes is not activated by the end of these three weeks, he will revert back to the injured reserve without a return designation and will not be able to practice with the team any longer.
This protocol was recently used with running back Kylin Hill, who is recovering from a 2021 ACL and began the season on the physically unable to perform list. Hill started practicing with the team on October 12th and was activated today as his three-week window was closing.
On Monday, Packers head coach Matt LaFleur stated that Barnes’ return could happen as soon as this week. Green Bay is in need of some linebacker help as starter, captain and All-Pro De’Vondre Campbell left last week’s game with a knee injury and was a non-participant in practice on Wednesday.
Barnes has started 23 games for the Packers in his NFL career. The 24-year-old was only recently replaced by first-round rookie Quay Walker as a defensive starter. Barnes also played on the team’s punt protection, which has continued to struggle this season. With the release of running back Patrick Taylor, who played in punt protection, the team is getting thinner in that unit this week.
Packers punter Pat O'Donnell has been pressured on 23.5% of his punts this season, the highest rate faced by a punter over the last five seasons.— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) November 2, 2022
O'Donnell also has the lowest average hang time (4.11 seconds) on punts this season.#StatThat pic.twitter.com/trIeO8XYjR
To activate Barnes to the 53-man roster, the team would not need to make a corresponding roster move. Even after the activation of Hill, the team is at 52 players, meaning they have an open spot on the team. The practice squad also has an open spot, which is expected to be filled by Taylor on Thursday. Taylor officially passed through waivers on Wednesday, which clears his return to the practice squad.