Three key players returned to practice for the Green Bay Packers on Thursday: left tackle David Bakhtiari (knee), left guard Elgton Jenkins (knee) and quarterback Aaron Rodgers (thumb/rib). All were non-participants on Wednesday but rejoined the team in a limited capacity today. Bakhtiari and Jenkins have played in each of the Packers’ last four games while Rodgers, as well as head coach Matt LaFleur, has stated that he intends to start against the Chicago Bears on Sunday.
Beyond that trio, inside linebacker De’Vondre Campbell (knee), running back AJ Dillon (quadricep) receiver Romeo Doubs (ankle) and running back Aaron Jones (shin/glute) have been limited participants in back-to-back practices. This is a good sign for Campbell and Doubs, who have missed the last month of action. Campbell is needed to stop the quarterback run game that led to Green Bay giving up over 100 rushing yards to Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts on Sunday Night Football last weekend.
The one major red flag on the Packers’ injury report is safety Darnell Savage (foot), who has missed back-to-back practices entirely. Savage was injured on his one and only defensive snap against the Eagles last week after being replaced by safety Rudy Ford as the team’s defensive starter. It’s uncertain if Savage will be demoted to the dimeback role for the remainder of the season, but Ford will likely get another crack as a starting safety against the Chicago Bears on Sunday.
Yesterday, LaFleur claimed that the Packers will be focusing their defensive gameplan on the assumption that quarterback Justin Fields (shoulder) will start against them. This decision appears to have been the right one, as Fields went from limited on Wednesday to a full participant on Thursday. Receiver Chase Claypool, who Green Bay almost traded for at the trade deadline, also went through the same participation this week. Riley Reiff, the Bears’ right tackle, was elevated from a non-participant to limited today, too.