GREEN BAY, Wis. – The banged-up Green Bay Packers could use a bye week. Unfortunately for them, that’s come and gone and this will be Game 2 of a closing stretch of games for at least 12 consecutive weeks.
Coach Matt LaFleur listed left tackle David Bakhtiari, cornerback Kevin King and safety Darnell Savage as doubtful on Friday’s injury report. Running back Aaron Jones popped up on the injury report with a calf injury, didn’t practice and is questionable. Defensive tackle Tyler Lancaster and running back/returner Tyler Ervin are out.
LaFleur said he’d give his long list of injured players “all the way up to game time” to get ready but there’s a good chance the team’s inactives list for Sunday at Houston will be filled with a lot of quality players.
“Well, I think they’ve got to prove it in pregame,” LaFleur said after Friday’s practice. “They’ve got to go out there and really go for it. And if they’re unable to do that [they won’t play]. And there’s other risks involved. I think every situation is a little bit different. So, I think you kind of take all that information in and then you make a decision for the best interest of the team and the player.”
Not having Bakhtiari would have been a big enough blow to a Packers offense looking to rebound. Not having Jones could make that doubly difficult.
Jones said he felt his calf get tight during Thursday’s practice. He wants to play but, as the team showed in Week 4 when receiver Davante Adams was held out against Atlanta, Jones knows the decision isn’t fully in his hands and there is a big-picture perspective to keep in mind.
“Didn't pay it much attention, and then after and throughout the later parts of the day is when I started to feel it,” he said after practice. “And then came in this morning and we took a look at it. I feel like I'm confident I can play, but I know our trainers and doctors have the players' best interests in mind. I'm going to do everything in my power to make sure I can get out on the field, but it's up to the team doctors.”
Not having Jones, obviously, would be a major blow. Jones, who has scored in every game this season, is one of the team’s best players and one of the few true threats on offense and could have a big day against the NFL's worst rushing defense. Not only is he a weapon as a runner and receiver, he helped fill Ervin’s role as the jet-sweep player last week. The Packers didn’t use much of that against Tampa Bay and might be without that staple of the playbook altogether against Houston because Ervin will miss another game with his wrist injury.
King practiced on Wednesday and Thursday but didn’t practice on Friday. LaFleur wouldn’t say whether King suffered a setback this week but King at least was questionable headed into Tampa Bay before being ruled inactive. If he is out again, it will be a big loss to the defense against Deshaun Watson and a potent Houston passing attack.
“To date we have not played a wide receiver group as deep as this one,” defensive coordinator Mike Pettine said on Thursday.
For glimmers of good news, tight end Robert Tonyan practiced after sitting out Wednesday and Thursday and center Corey Linsley was full participation after being limited on Thursday. Both players are questionable.
Packers Injury Report
Out: RB Tyler Ervin (wrist), DT Tyler Lancaster (shoulder).
Doubtful: LT David Bakhtiari (chest), CB Kevin King (quad), S Darnell Savage (quad).
Questionable: DT Montravius Adams (foot), RB Aaron Jones (calf), C Corey Linsley (back), OLB Preston Smith (shouder), TE Robert Tonyan (ankle).
Texans Injury Report
TE Jordan Akins (ankle/concussion), LB Peter Kalambayi (hamstring).