The Green Bay Packers have added another top offensive weapon to the injury report for Week 7’s game against the Houston Texans.
Packers star running back Aaron Jones was held out of Friday’s final practice of the week due to a mild calf strain he sustained during Thursday’s session. While he told reporters in the afternoon he is “confident” he will be able to play, Jones also recognized the “doctors and trainers have the players’ best interest in mind” and will make the final call.
Packers head coach Matt LaFleur said Jones will be questionable against the Texans and will be given up until game time before a decision is made on his status.
LaFleur also said All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari will be doubtful with the chest injury that caused him to drop out in the fourth quarter of Week 6’s loss against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Veteran backup Rick Wagner would be the presumptive starter in his place, but the Packers could get creative and move Elgton Jenkins to the role with Jon Runyan Jr. taking over at right guard.
The Packers have also ruled cornerback Kevin King — who missed Week 6’s game — doubtful to play against the Texans as he continues to recover from a quadriceps injury. LaFleur declined to say whether King experienced a setback, but he was questionable against the Bucs and tested out his legs in the pregame before being ruled inactive.
Friday’s official injury report also shed some light on a few other injured Packers: Defensive lineman Tyler Lancaster (shoulder) and return specialist Tyler Ervin (wrist) are both out against the Texans, while starting safety Darnell Savage Jr. (quadriceps) is doubtful. Meanwhile, outside linebacker Preston Smith (shoulder), center Corey Linsley (back), tight end Robert Tonyan (ankle) and defensive lineman Montravius Adams (foot) are all listed as questionable with Jones.
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Backup Plan If Jones Can’t Play?
Jones is the type of dynamic player the Packers never want out of the game, but their backfield also doesn’t run dry if he is forced to join Ervin on the sidelines against the Texans on Sunday.
Jamaal Williams has only played about 50 fewer snaps than Jones this season and has carved out a nice chunk of production as the second rushing option, gaining 142 yards on the ground and catching 13 of his 14 targets in the passing game for 119 yards. While he hasn’t found his way into the end zone through six games, he’s due for a touchdown after catching five during the 2019 season.
LaFleur has also mentioned multiple times over the past few weeks how he wants to get more touches for second-round rookie AJ Dillon, who is currently the only running back on the Packers’ roster that won’t need a new contract in 2021. He has been given just 13 carries through six games, but he broke off for a 20-yard run against the Bucs last week and was a hard-charging star (825 carries, 4,382 yards, 38 touchdowns) at Boston College.
If Jones doesn’t play, it also wouldn’t be too surprising to see the Packers elevate Dexter Williams — a 2019 sixth-round pick — from their practice squad to fill out the depth of the group. Williams didn’t go unnoticed during training camp and had the odds against him given the four backs above him, but he also wasn’t able to crack the rotation as a rookie despite spending the entire season on the active roster.