So where does that leave the third-year pro who was hoping to parlay his playoff performance last year against the Arizona Cardinals into a larger role in the offense?
“I haven’t even thought about that really,” Janis said Monday. “I’m just going to focus on healing up and being ready when I’m ready. I haven’t really thought that far into the future. I’m just going to try to get better.
“They say four to six weeks, but it could be sooner than that, it could be longer. It all depends on how it heals.”
Any progress Janis made this offseason has officially stalled, although it’s debatable whether he built off his seven-catch, 145-yard, two-touchdown game against the Cardinals to the point where he would have earned significantly more playing time than last year. It’s not like he stood out all offseason and early in training camp even with additional work in the No. 1 offense and with quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
“I was getting a lot of first-team reps, and just getting those reps is really important, just getting those reps with Aaron and showing him that I can be in the right place at the right time and building that trust,” Janis said. “I thought it was going pretty well. I’m just going to stay in it mentally and see what happens.”
Janis was surprised as anyone to find out he would need surgery. After he injured his hand in practice on Wednesday, he said he jammed his fingers, but further tests showed he sustained a fracture in his right hand.
“It wasn’t until the next day that I woke up and it was pretty painful and I knew something was kind of wrong,” Janis said. “I went over the X-rays with Doc, and it showed a fracture and got it fixed.”
Janis said the screws were inserted into his right index finger.
In addition to Janis’ injury, the Packers still don’t have Jordy Nelson (knee) on the field; he remains on the physically unable to perform list. It’s still a relatively deep group that includes Randall Cobb, Davante Adams, Jared Abbrederis, Ty Montgomery, Ed Williams plus impressive rookies Trevor Davis and Geronimo Allison.
If the Packers still want to play Janis this season, they could carry him on the 53-man roster and declare him as one of the game-day inactives until he’s ready to play. Or they could put him on injured reserve and use their one IR exemption to bring him back at some point.
Whatever they decide, Janis plans on playing this season.
“I’ve always prided myself on being one of the guys who’s always available and ready to play,” Janis said. “But this is just something that happens and I can’t really control it. Just got to stay in the book, keep going to meetings, keep paying attention and keep up with the game plans and everything and when it is healed, be ready to play.”