Packers Veteran WR Carted Off at Joint Practice With Jets

Funchess Jets Joint Injury

Getty Devin Funchess #11 of the Green Bay Packers reacts after getting a first down in the first half of a preseason game against the Houston Texans on August 14, 2021.

Devin Funchess’ impressive first training camp with the Green Bay Packers appears to have hit an unfortunate snag.

According to Ryan Wood of the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Funchess “pulled up lame on the sideline” after making a catch during Wednesday’s first joint practice with the New York Jets, grabbing at his left hamstring and attempting to walk it off on the sideline with trainers before eventually being carted off into the Packers’ facility.

Shortly after, the Packers also saw offensive tackle Dennis Kelly go down during one of their team reps. The recently signed veteran lineman managed to walk off the field under his own power, but he remained out for the rest of practice and was seen with an ice bag over his right knee, according to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

No injury updates were immediately shared for either player.

The Packers also held back several injured players from their first joint session, including backup quarterback Jordan Love as he continues to nurse an injury to his throwing shoulder that he sustained in the first preseason game. Running back AJ Dillon (calf), safety Vernon Scott (hamstring) and wide receivers Chris Blair (ankle) and Juwann Winfree (shoulder) did not participate on Wednesday, August 18, either.

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Funchess Can’t Afford to Miss Much Time

Funchess was indisputably one of the best offensive players on the field for the Packers against the Houston Texans on August 14, catching six of the eight passes thrown his way for 70 yards and looking nothing like a player who hadn’t stepped foot in a game in almost two years. A new injury, however, could put a damper on his triumphant return.

The Packers are essentially looking to fill one roster spot, maybe two, for their receiving corps with Davante Adams, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb and Amari Rodgers all locked into place for the 2021 season. Funchess has been one of the leading contenders to claim that spot since the beginning of camp, helping his case even further with a strong preseason debut, but availability could decide his fate if he is forced to miss any significant time.

The Packers also have Equanimeous St. Brown, Malik Taylor and Winfree — who has been sidelined since Packers Family Night on August 7 — trying to earn the sixth wideout spot on their 53-man roster. While not as flashy as Funchess’ night, Taylor also looked good in the 26-7 loss to the Texans, making five receptions for 50 yards and taking three of them for first downs.

Dillon’s Injury Deemed Precautionary

Dillon might have been the most notable new addition to the Packers’ injury report for Wednesday, but the calf issue that held him out of the first joint practice is apparently not something the team is overly concerned about. According to Matt Schneidman of The Athletic, the decision to hold Dillon out of team activities on Wednesday was “mostly precautionary,” which is good news for someone expected to be a regular contributor in his second year with the Packers.

Dillon, a 2020 second-round pick, heads into the 2021 season as the new No. 2 back behind star Aaron Jones, filling the shoes of the since-departed Jamaal Williams in a role that has been designated for him since before training camp began. He rushed 46 times for 242 yards and two touchdowns while playing on just 9% of offensive snaps as a rookie last year. He also flashed the potential of a true No. 1 back during Week 16’s snow-covered win over Tennessee when he rushed for 124 yards and both of his scores.

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