Green Bay Packers veteran wide receiver Allen Lazard is not concerned about his recent shoulder injury being a long-term issue, but he does not think he will be suiting up for Sunday Night Football against the Buffalo Bills in Week 8.
Lazard told media after Thursday’s practice that he would “probably not” be available for the Packers in their prime-time matchup with the Bills due to the shoulder injury that he sustained in Week 7’s loss to the Washington Commanders. He also confirmed it is both an issue of pain and range of motion with his shoulder; although, he is not worried about the injury having a long-term impact on his status.
“There’s always worry when there’s not a full understanding or diagnostic of what it is, but knowing my body and everything, given that moment, I wasn’t too stressed out or anything,” Lazard said of his mindset when he sustained the injury. “I tried to play, so I knew obviously I could bear through some of the pain and everything, but as time kept going, it was just like, ‘It’s probably not the best thing to do.'”
The Packers were also missing left tackle David Bakhtiari (knee), veteran tight end Marcedes Lewis (veteran rest day) and cornerback Shemar Jean-Charles (ankle) from Thursday’s practice. They also saw quarterback Aaron Rodgers (thumb), left guard Elgton Jenkins (knee) and Rashan Gary (concussion) return after all three sat out of Wednesday’s session. The final injury report will be released on Friday, October 28.
Lazard Has ‘Utmost Confidence’ in Fellow Packers WRs
Without Lazard, the Packers will be missing the only two receivers on their roster who played meaningful roles for their team last season. The other is Randall Cobb, who will have to remain on injured reserve for at least three more games with an injured ankle. Instead, Rodgers will have to depend on a receiving group that consists of veteran Sammy Watkins — who is still working back from a hamstring injury — second-year return specialist Amari Rodgers and three drafted rookies in Buffalo.
“I have the utmost confidence in those guys,” Lazard said. “We preached to them all year and even more so this week that they’re in this building for a reason and in the NFL for a reason. It’s not by accident or anything, they’re very talented individuals and they’re more than capable of going out there and showcasing their talents at the best of their abilities. I’m expecting big, great things from those guys in that room, and at the end of the day, when you’ve got 12 out there, really anything’s possible.”
Christian Watson Participates in Second Straight Practice
On a more positive note, Packers second-round rookie wide receiver Christian Watson practiced for a second consecutive day on Thursday and continues to make progress on potentially returning to Green Bay’s lineup. Watson had not practiced since the end of Week 5 for the Packers due to a recurring hamstring injury, but he returned to the field earlier this week and now has a chance to play against the Bills on Sunday night.
“Yeah, we’ll see where he’s at,” LaFleur told reporters on October 27 when asked if Watson had a shot at playing in Week 8. “He practiced on a limited basis [on Wednesday] and we’ll get him back out there [Thursday] and see how he responds.”
Watson, who possesses dangerous speed when healthy, could be a difference-maker for the Packers against the Bills if he can get the all-clear from the training staff. He has caught just seven passes for 52 yards and added another three rushes for 19 yards and a touchdown as the Packers’ go-to option on sweeps and motions, but they have also shown an interest in getting him involved in the deep-passing game and could revisit some of the shots they have taken with him downfield against the Bills.
Either way, Watson exuded confidence about his health when talking to reporters after practice on Thursday and sounds mentally ready to get back on the field again.
“I’m feeling really good, feeling really confident,” Watson said Thursday. “Obviously, [I’ve] just got to consistently take care of myself and make sure I’m doing the right things so I can stay on the field, stay healthy, but feeling really good for sure.
“Personally, I’m 100%. I think I’ve been doing all the correct things, all the things I’ve needed to do, in the training room, preparing for practice and, after practice, taking care of myself. So I’m 100% confident in myself for sure.”