GREEN BAY, Wis. – A few days after Za’Darius Smith played in the season-opener despite practicing only once during training camp due to a back injury, the Pro Bowl outside linebacker wasn’t on the practice field on Thursday.
In fact, he wasn’t even in the Don Hutson Center for the pre-practice stretch, raising even more questions about what kind of impact he’ll make this season.
Smith was out for three weeks before practicing on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday of last week. He sat out Friday’s practice and was listed as questionable but played 18 snaps in the loss to New Orleans. His only impact play was the controversial roughing-the-passer penalty that eliminated an interception by Darnell Savage.
“We’re not going to play him as much as we’d like to until he’s healthy enough to do that,” coach Matt LaFleur said before practice. “Until he can practice on a daily basis, it’s hard to say that he’s 100 percent.”
Speaking of Savage, he was unable to finish the game with a shoulder injury sustained on the return of that interception. He practiced on Thursday and was listed as limited participation. Fellow safety Vernon Scott practiced for the first time since suffering a hamstring injury midway through training camp. He also was limited.
“He’s progressing,” LaFleur said of Savage. “We’ll give him the week to see how he feels, but he’s been getting better, I would say, every day. He’s a guy that we want available because he’s a guy that can cover a lot of ground out there and he’s got great experience, explosiveness, and he’s a key member of this football team.”
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The answer to that question will be clear when the Packers begin their pregame warmups in a little while.
Left guard Lucas Patrick, who suffered a concussion on the final offensive snap of the game after a helmet-to-helmet hit, and tight end Josiah Deguara, who suffered a concussion early in the third quarter, went through stretching but didn’t practice.
Packers Injury Report
DNP: TE Josiah Deguara (concussion), LG Lucas Patrick (concussion), OLB Za’Darius Smith (back).
Limited: DT Tyler Lancaster (back/ankle); S Darnell Savage (shoulder); S Vernon Scott (hamstring).
Full: C Josh Myers (fingers).
Lions Injury Report
DNP: DE Kevin Strong (concussion), WR Tyrell Williams (concussion).
Limited: DE Michael Brockers (shoulder), OLB Trey Flowers (shoulder), OLB Romeo Okwara (shoulder), RB D’Andre Swift (groin), RB Jamaal Williams (chest).
Full: DE Levi Onwuzurike (hip).