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'A matter of time': Packers say Jordy Nelson will be Jordy Nelson again

"We think with this program in place, the treatment that he's getting, the effort that he's putting into it, it's just a matter of time," said Packers offensive coordinator Edgar Bennett of Jordy Nelson, above. Mark Hoffman/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via USA TODAY Sports

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Carolina Panthers receiver Kelvin Benjamin already has a so-called "spectacular catch" in practice. Dallas Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick was cleared for at least some training camp drills.

Benjamin tore his left ACL last Aug. 19, while Scandrick blew out the ACL and MCL in his right knee on Aug. 25.

Jordy Nelson tore his right ACL last Aug. 23, yet there's no indication that the Green Bay Packers' Pro Bowl receiver will back much before the Sept. 11 regular-season opener, which remains his goal.

Given Nelson's age (31) and delayed return because of what he called "a hiccup" with his left (non-ACL) knee this summer, he might not be the same receiver he was in his most recent season (2014), when he set career highs with 98 catches and 1,519 yards.

The Packers don't share those concerns, at least not publicly.

"We do not, we do not," offensive coordinator Edgar Bennett said Tuesday. "We think with this program in place, the treatment that he's getting, the effort that he's putting into it, it's just a matter of time."

But even Nelson acknowledged this offseason that he won't know if he'll back to his old standard until he's actually on the field.

"If I do lose a step, there's nothing I can do about it," Nelson said in April.

Nelson had been running routes and even caught a few passes from Aaron Rodgers off to the side during the offseason workouts before his setback, which he said did not require surgery. But he would not elaborate when asked whether any type of medical procedure was done on his left knee.

For now, he's still on the physically unable to perform list along with four other Packers: receiver Ty Montgomery (ankle), tight end Jared Cook (foot), center Corey Linsley (hamstring) and linebacker Sam Barrington (foot). Guard T.J. Lang (shoulder) was activated off PUP on Monday, when coach Mike McCarthy said: "Other than [Lang], nothing has changed with the other five."

"I think the type of work ethic that he's displayed over the course of his entire career, I see him putting everything he has into it," Bennett said. "That's the way he goes about his business. You talk about being a true pro, that's Jordy Nelson. So he's going to do everything he possibly can classroom-wise, rehab-wise, and when he steps back on the practice field he'll be ready to play."

In Nelson's case, it might not be for a while. Even though the Packers remain confident that Nelson will return to form and will quickly regain his connection with Rodgers, the quarterback himself seemed prepared for the possibility that he might not get any preseason game action with his No. 1 receiver.

"We're going to need a little bit of time -- not necessarily game reps but just some reps in practice," Rodgers said on the first day of training camp last week. "He's going to need to feel press coverage again and getting off of that and running and making plays and catches. I'm confident that he'll get to a point where he'll be ready to play when we need him."

Despite what looks like a much deeper group of receivers this season, Nelson might be irreplaceable. Without him last season, Rodgers posted his lowest completion percentage (60.7) and yards per attempt (6.7) since he became a starter in 2008. With Nelson in 2013 and 2014, Rodgers combined to complete 65.9 percent of his passes and -- perhaps more importantly -- averaged 8.5 yards per attempt.