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Packers add 6 players to injury lists ahead of training camp

Both OLB Rashan Gary and CB Eric Stokes are now on PUP watch.

Green Bay Packers v Washington Commanders Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

The Green Bay Packers will be less than fully-healthy going into training camp next week. According to NFL reporter Aaron Wilson, the team placed receiver Jeff Cotton, center Jake Hanson, outside linebacker Rashan Gary and cornerback Eric Stokes on the physically unable to perform list (PUP) while receiver Grant DuBose and tight end Camren McDonald were added to the non-football injury list (NFI.)

Some of these moves weren’t very surprising. For example, Gary tore his ACL during the 2022 season, which was always going to mean that his availability even early on the in regular season was going to be in doubt. Hanson also missed minicamp with an undisclosed injury, as did the rookie draft pick DuBose — who battled with an injury during the voluntary portion of the offseason workouts.

The big wildcard here is Stokes. Stokes had a season-ending ankle injury in 2022, but Sports Illustrated’s Bill Huber claimed that a source told him that Stokes was “not expected to miss any portion of camp” back in March. Technically, Stokes may be activated off of the PUP list before the start of training camp on Wednesday, but that seems like an unlikely move after the designation was made today.

If a player is placed on the PUP list, he’s eligible to make it through final cuts without counting against the team’s 53-man roster limit. If a PUP list player does make a team’s initial roster, though, he is unable to be activated to the active roster until at least Week 5 of the regular season. These players do continue to count against a team’s 90-man offseason roster, though. The same is true about NFI players, with the exception being that NFI players are not entitled to their in-season salary, as they sustained injuries outside of the team’s facilities.

At least early on in camp, we now have six candidates who might not play the first month of the season, including two starters in Gary and Stokes. Hopefully, their recovery goes well enough during the preseason that they can be activated off of the PUP list before they’re locked out of the first four games of the 2023 season.

If Gary and Stokes do miss time, the assumption is that first-round rookie draft pick Lukas Van Ness will replace Gary’s spot in the lineup while the combination of Jaire Alexander, Rasul Douglas and Keisean Nixon play at cornerback for Stokes. Douglas often played the slot role when Stokes was on the field, but is expected to be an outside cornerback if Stokes can’t suit up. In that scenario, Nixon — a first-team All-Pro return man — is the presumed “starting” slot cornerback for the Packers.