The Green Bay Packers announced on Saturday that they have activated cornerback Eric Stokes (foot) from the physically unable to perform list. Stokes, whose 21-day practice window was set to close early next week, now has a chance to suit up in his first game in 11 months against the Denver Broncos this weekend.
Stokes has been recovering from a Lisfranc injury that cost him the second half of his 2022 season. According to the cornerback, he also injured his hamstring during the rehab process, which delayed his recovery.
This week, Stokes was a limited participant in all three of the practices that the Packers had to publish an injury report for. He was also on the field for the team’s post-bye practice on Monday. Officially, he was listed as “questionable” on Friday’s injury report.
Earlier this week, head coach Matt LaFleur claimed that Stokes may need to be eased into the lineup as a special teams player before he begins to play on the defensive side of the ball. With cornerback Jaire Alexander popping up on the injury report mid-week for a back injury, which has previously kept him out of action this season, the team’s plans may have changed, though. Alexander was a non-participant on Friday and was listed as “questionable” by the team. On Wednesday, Alexander wasn’t even featured on the Packers’ injury report, which implies that he re-aggravated his back in some way during Wednesday’s or Thursday’s practice.
With Stokes out of the lineup, the cornerback rotation has featured Alexander and Rasul Douglas playing outside cornerback and Keisean Nixon playing the slot. When Alexander has been off the field, rookie seventh-round pick Carrington Valentine has been the team’s preferred replacement at outside cornerback, though, Valentine was benched against the Detroit Lions for Corey Ballentine — a practice squad call-up. Ballentine has now exhausted his practice squad elevations, meaning that he’s probably not an option against the Denver Broncos.
When the Packers announced the Stokes activation, they did not announce any practice squad elevations — of which they’re allotted two a week. This probably means that they aren’t going to use any practice squadders against the Broncos.
The corresponding roster move made for Stokes’ activation was the release of outside linebacker Justin Hollins, who was also released in Week 5 in order to make room for the promotion of running back Patrick Taylor from the practice squad to the 53-man roster. Based on the team’s previous set of transactions, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Hollins re-signed by the squad on Monday — depending on how they want to balance their 53-man roster.