In his press conference on Monday, Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur gave the media the rundown of what his players’ injury statuses would have been — had the team been allowed to practice today. According to LaFleur, running back Aaron Jones (hamstring) and outside linebacker Rashan Gary (knee) would have limited participants and receiver Christian Watson (hamstring), left tackle David Bakhtiari (knee), left guard Elgton Jenkins (knee), right tackle Zach Tom (knee), inside linebacker De’Vondre Campbell (ankle), cornerback Jaire Alexander (back), cornerback Carrington Valentine (biceps) and safety Zayne Anderson (hamstring) would have been non-participants. You have to love the hypothetical participation reports on a short week before Thursday Night Football.
LaFleur would go on to say that he’s “hopeful” that Jones and Watson play against the Detroit Lions on Thursday, but he said the team is in the same boat as they were last week. According to FOX’s broadcast in Week 3, Jones told the television crew that he was expecting to play against the New Orleans Saints, but he ultimately didn’t suit up for the game.
The new injuries to the team from Sunday’s action were to Tom, Campbell and Valentine. LaFleur stated Campbell’s ankle injury was not to the same ankle that had bothered him in the past. The head coach also mentioned that Valentine didn’t tear his biceps, which is a positive bit of injury news. On the subject of Tom, LaFleur simply said that it’s never a good sign when a player can’t finish a game.
I’m thinking this is where Tom might have injured his knee. He would play 4 more plays on the knee and seemed mostly fine. Hopefully it’s nothing serious. pic.twitter.com/SN8lhEoMPV— Andy Herman (@AndyHermanNFL) September 25, 2023
Injuries will be a massive factor for the Packers entering their NFC North showdown this week, as the team was already short-handed in Week 3. Between dead cap hits and players whom the Packers are currently paying for and were unable to suit up, less than half of Green Bay’s 2023 salary cap was seen on the field in just the third week of the season.
With so many injuries, the Packers were only able to have one single healthy scratch (rookie safety Anthony Johnson Jr.) against the Saints. If Alexander and Valentine can’t go, there’s a good chance that Corey Ballentine — a practice squadder — will make the start at cornerback this week against the Lions. If neither Bakhtiari or Tom can play tackle, that would leave Rasheed Walker and Yosh Nijman on the bookends with Caleb Jones, who was a healthy scratch in Week 1 and 2, as the team’s swing tackle. When Campbell was out against New Orleans, he was mostly replaced by Isaiah McDuffie, but Eric Wilson played linebacker on a few obvious passing down looks.
Keep an eye out for tomorrow’s injury report, which should give us a better feel for who is trending toward being active against the Lions. The Packers might have to reshuffle their 53-man roster around, bringing players up from the practice squad, just to get 46 healthy players on the gameday roster versus Detroit.