Despite being listed as questionable on Thursday, the day the Green Bay Packers announced their final injury report of the week, inside linebacker Isaiah McDuffie (neck), cornerback Jaire Alexander (ankle) and punter Daniel Whelan (illness) will all suit up for the green and gold versus the San Francisco 49ers. Alexander’s status is the most important piece of information to note here, considering the caliber of the player and his practice participation this week.
Unlike McDuffie and Whelan, Alexander never practiced with the team during the preparation leading up to this game. Alexander was on the injury report last week for an ankle injury, which happened during a “freak accident” going into the team’s game versus the Dallas Cowboys. Able to play against Dallas, Alexander reaggravated that injury during on-field action, leading to his questionable status coming into today.
McDuffie was a participant versus the Cowboys, too, and also left the game early. Last week, he was used as a base downs starter, as De’Vondre Campbell played more on passing downs until McDuffie eventually dropped out of the lineup. Look for that today against the 49ers.
Whelan was never really thought to be at risk of not playing in this game, as he only recently popped up on the injury report with an illness, but the team did sign former starting punter Pat O’Donnell to their practice squad. The team did not elevate him for action this week, though. Instead, the only player to get a tap on the shoulder to move up from the practice squad was outside linebacker Keshawn Banks, who will make his NFL debut today.
The only player besides Kingsley Enagbare who isn’t either playing or is a healthy scratch versus the 49ers is running back AJ Dillon, who remains out of the lineup with a thumb injury. With Dillon out, expect a healthy heaping of Aaron Jones with just Patrick Taylor and Emanuel Wilson backing him up in the running back rotation.
The healthy scratches in this game are receiver Malik Heath, tackle Caleb Jones, outside linebacker Brenton Cox Jr. and safety Benny Sapp III. Cox’s situation is a bit of a surprise, as he’s been on the 53-man roster all season and the team just lost Kingsley Enagbare to a presumed ACL tear. For whatever reason, the Packers’ staff must believe that Banks is a better outside linebacker today than Cox — a highly-touted undrafted free-agent rookie — is.
- RB AJ Dillon (thumb)
- WR Malik Heath
- T Caleb Jones
- OLB Kingsley Enagbare (knee)
- OLB Brenton Cox Jr.
- S Benny Sapp III