First it was Jordy Nelson, who was sidelined by an arthroscopic knee procedure that kept his status in question until shortly before the season opener. Since then, tight end Jermichael Finley has suffered a concussion and a toe injury, and all three running backs -- Eddie Lacy, James Starks and Johnathan Franklin -- have sustained various injuries. Then, in Week 6, their other two top receivers – Randall Cobb and James Jones -- exited the game with knee injuries.
For the time being, Nelson, Finley, Lacy and Franklin are all healthy. Here’s a look at the injury status of Starks, Cobb and Jones.
James Starks, RB (knee): Starks has an undisclosed knee injury, but has been making steady progress. Last week, there were hints he could return in Week 7, but after not practicing through Thursday, that plan is on hold for a bit longer. Starks has already been ruled out for Sunday’s game, leaving Franklin to back up Lacy.
Randall Cobb, WR (broken fibula): Last Sunday, Cobb took a blow to the front of his knee that could have resulted in myriad problems. The body part that ended up absorbing the damage was the fibula (the skinny bone located on the outside of the leg that runs from the knee to the ankle). Cobb’s fibula fracture, despite the obvious severity of breaking a bone, was better than a potentially season-ending multiligament tear, and the team placed him on the IR/designated for return. The soonest he will be eligible to return is Week 15.
James Jones, WR (knee): Jones suffered what the team has only referred to as a left knee injury, but ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported it to be a PCL sprain. As with any ligamentous injury, the down time is linked to the severity of the damage. The fact that there is even a hint that Jones might be available as soon as one week following the injury suggests it was a relatively minor sprain. That said, the PCL can be tricky because it is responsible for helping control posterior translation -- the movement of the lower leg relative to the thigh in the backward direction. Even a minor injury can give the athlete a feeling of instability, or that the knee is slipping backward. Obviously that can translate to difficulty landing from a jump when making a catch, or changing direction while running a route. The ligament lies deep within the joint, and the athlete can feel the uncomfortable sensation strongly, even if the actual movement, or slipping, is subtle -- making this a problem not easily remedied by a brace.
On Wednesday, coach Mike McCarthy indicated Friday would be the day the Packers learn more about Jones’ status. “He’s very positive about where he is, how he feels, but I think he’s gearing up for a possible test in his rehab schedule,” McCarthy said. As ESPN.com’s Rob Demovsky reports, Jones has a chance to play on Sunday, but it would not come as a surprise if he sits.