Packers injury report: Shortage at WR, OLB

GREEN BAY, Wis. – The Green Bay Packers won’t know anything about the status of receiver James Jones until at least Friday, and their problems at outside linebacker keep getting worse.

Jones, who left last Sunday’s game against Baltimore with a left knee injury, did not practice on Wednesday, but he has not been ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns.

“Hopefully, Friday will be the day that we’ll find out about James,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said after Wednesday’s practice. “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.”

At outside linebacker, where they already know they will be without starters Clay Matthews (thumb) and Nick Perry (foot), the Packers have another concern. Mike Neal could not practice on Wednesday because of a bruised shoulder, leaving rookies Andy Mulumba and Nate Palmer as the only available outside linebackers. Neal also is not expected to practice on Thursday. He has a history of shoulder problems, including one that landed him on injured reserve as a rookie in 2010. It’s unknown if his latest injury is related.

“It was not a lot of fun, so [it was] something we had to adjust,” McCarthy said. “It’s been a busy 48 hours. Clearly, I know in my time in the league, just as far as the number of people, as far as the roster moves that we’ve had to go through the last two days, it’s a lot of adjustment, a lot of planning for different scenarios and things like that. Obviously, personnel groups on both sides of the ball are stressed, and we feel like we have a good plan, and we’ll be ready to go.”

At one of the team's deepest positions, cornerback Casey Hayward practiced on a Wednesday for the first time this season, and he appears to be inching closer to making his season debut. He missed most of training camp and the first five games of the regular season because of a hamstring injury. The last two weeks, he had been practicing on Thursdays. For the first time, Hayward on Wednesday hinted at the severity of the injury by saying it was a muscle tear.

“It’s very frustrating, but at the same time you can’t rush some of these injuries back,” Hayward said. “Sometimes you can play with broken bones but you can’t play with, you know, torn muscles and things like that.”

Also, tackle Derek Sherrod, who began the season on the physically unable to perform list, practiced for the first time since he broke two bones in his lower right leg on Dec. 18, 2011. This begins a three-week window in which Sherrod can practice without counting on the roster. Three other PUP players – defensive end Jerel Worthy (knee), safety Sean Richardson (neck) and tackle JC Tretter (ankle) – have not yet returned.

Here’s the full injury report:

  • CB Jarrett Bush (hamstring, full participation in practice)

  • CB Casey Hayward (hamstring, limited participation)

  • LB Brad Jones (hamstring, did not practice)

  • WR James Jones (knee, did not practice)

  • OLB Clay Matthews (thumb, out)

  • OLB Mike Neal (shoulder, did not practice)

  • OLB Nick Perry (foot, out)

  • RB James Starks (knee, out)

  • TE Ryan Taylor (knee, out)