GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Maybe the Green Bay Packers' injury situation isn’t as bad as their injury report looks.
Yes, the Packers had 13 players listed -- including both starting offensive tackles and their two veteran receivers -- but with right tackle Bryan Bulaga and receiver Jordy Nelson back on the practice field, Sunday’s game against Cincinnati might not be littered with as many backups as the Packers originally feared.
In fact, both Bulaga and Nelson sounded more than mildly optimistic about their chances.
“Today obviously it feels a lot better than it did on Sunday night,” Nelson said after Wednesday’s practice. “Everything’s headed in the right direction.”
Nelson was listed as a full participant in practice. He dropped out of Sunday night’s loss at Atlanta after he took a knee to his right quadriceps on the Packers’ first series. Nelson called his injury a charley horse. He tried to return against the Falcons. He rode an exercise bike on the sideline and tried to jog but said it swelled significantly and he couldn’t run full speed or stop and start. He had no such problems on Wednesday.
“Feel good -- better than what probably I think I and some other people in this building thought I would, so we’re progressing the right way,” Nelson said. “It was great to get back out there and run around, and everything felt good.”
It was the same for Bulaga, who missed the first two games because of his Aug. 23 ankle sprain in practice. Like Nelson, he was a full participant in practice. His return was complicated last week by a bad case of the stomach flu.
“Just didn’t think the ankle was quite there yet,” Bulaga said Wednesday. “From a feeling standpoint, I felt better. I got over the flu or whatever it was, but just wasn’t there. We’re still taking it day by day, going with that approach. Today was a good step and we’ll go at it tomorrow and look at how it does overnight and reassess what we’ve got going on tomorrow.”
Barring setbacks, the Packers should have at least half of their starting tackles and half of their veteran receiving corps on Sunday against the Bengals. Left tackle David Bakhtiari (hamstring) and receiver Randall Cobb (chest) were among eight players who did not practice on Wednesday. The others were: safety Kentrell Brice (groin), defensive tackle Mike Daniels (hip), cornerback Davon House (quad), linebacker Nick Perry (hand), linebacker Jake Ryan (concussion, hamstring) and tackle Jason Spriggs (hamstring).
The biggest concern among that group is Daniels, whose hip was an issue going into last week’s game. He didn’t make it out of the first quarter. The Packers on Wednesday brought back veteran defensive lineman Ricky Jean Francois, who was released after Week 1, because of how thin they could be without Daniels.