Green Bay’s wide receiver room is finally back to full strength.
The Packers activated third-year wideout Allen Lazard from injured reserve to their active roster on Tuesday, welcoming him back into the fold for the first time since he suffered a core-muscle injury during Week 3’s win over the New Orleans Saints.
Lazard underwent reparative surgery in early October and spent a little less than a month away from the practice field, rejoining his teammates for workouts in the middle of Week 8. While he has been eligible to return to the active roster since then, the Packers waited until just before the end of his 21-day activation window to make the move.
With Lazard’s return, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is gaining back one of his most trusted targets behind Davante Adams. He had been leading the team with 254 receiving yards on 13 catches prior to his stint on IR and, after sustaining his injury, played through the pain to finish out his career-best performance against the Saints.
Assuming Lazard plays on Sunday, the Packers will have all three of their top wide receivers — Adams, Lazard and Marquez Valdes-Scantling — back in their lineup for the first time since Week 2 when they travel to take on the Indianapolis Colts in Week 11. It will also be the first time ever Green Bay has Adams, Lazard, MVS and Equanimeous St. Brown available in the same game.
The Packers had two spots available on their 53-man roster and did not need to make a corresponding move to clear space for Lazard; however, they can be expected to make another move in the near future with rookies AJ Dillon and Krys Barnes expected to soon return from the reserve/COVID-19 list.
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How Much Will Lazard Play in Return?
Every injury is different, but the Packers’ track record with injured players this season offers an encouraging sign for Lazard’s activity in the upcoming week.
The Packers have seen three other players come back from IR already this season — St. Brown, Kamal Martin and Christian Kirksey — and all three of them saw a reasonable amount of action in their return. Kirksey has been the most recent example and played every single defensive snap after rejoining the lineup
Even players who were simply out and nursing wounds haven’t seemed to be held to any strict snap counts. Davante Adams slid back into the starting lineup after being held out one game longer than he would have liked to be sidelined, as did Kenny Clark and Aaron Jones when they were healthy again. Lazard will surely be monitored individually, but the Packers have not made a habit out of bringing back players until they were 100%.
There is, however, one potential hangup for Lazard. While the others were all activated with time to spare in their return windows, Lazard was designated for return up against his deadline. Considering the alternative was leaving him out for the remainder of the year, the Packers needed to make a move to keep him available, but it doesn’t necessarily mean he will be where they want him when they kick off against the Colts.
Keep an eye out for Lazard’s designation on the Week 11 injury report, as it could lend some idea of how “back” he truly is for the Packers.