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Report: Aaron Jones is expected to play vs. Buccaneers

Green Bay’s running back room has reshaped itself with transactions and now an update on Jones’ health.

NFC Championship - Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Green Bay Packers Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones (knee) is expected to play against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. If Schefter’s reporting is true, this will be the first game that Jones plays in since he sprained his MCL against the Los Angeles Chargers back in Week 11. Jones had also previously missed three games this season due to a hamstring injury, which originated against the Chicago Bears in Week 1 and was reaggravated in Week 5.

The Packers also made a couple of other roster moves on Sunday, which hint at which direction they will take at the running back position. The team activated cornerback Eric Stokes (hamstring) off of the injured reserve and elevated running back Kenyan Drake and receiver Bo Melton off of the practice squad for the Packers’ game against the Buccaneers.

There’s no reason for Green Bay to need a fourth running back in Drake, assuming that Jones is going to play, unless AJ Dillon (thumb) is going to be inactive for the game. Earlier this week, Dillon confirmed that he broke his thumb in the final minutes against the New York Giants. On Friday, head coach Matt LaFleur stated that Dillon was able to practice with heavy padding on his hand, something that is far more common for offensive linemen or defenders than it is for offensive skill players in the NFL.

Based on the information we have now, the assumption should be that Dillon is likely out, Jones is likely in, Patrick Taylor will be the number two back for the game and Drake will be the reserve back. For perspective, both Taylor and Drake were active last week against the Giants. Taylor played 32 offensive snaps, out of a possible 68, while Drake didn’t play a single rep.

The only major question left is how involved in the gameplan Jones will be. As we mentioned previously, Jones has dealt with multiple injuries this season and is about to play his first game since November 19th. On the year, he’s only been able to record 66 carries and 19 receptions, as he’s only cracked 10 carries in two games in 2023. Don’t be surprised if Taylor ends up receiving the most snaps out of the running backs on Sunday.