The Green Bay Packers welcomed back rookie inside linebacker Kamal Martin and wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown to practice Monday from injured reserve, bringing each one closer to playing his first snaps of the 2020 season.
According to Matt Schneidman of The Athletic, the Packers designated both players to return from IR ahead of Week 6’s road game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and will now have a three-week window to activate them. No spaces will need to be cleared for them on the 53-man roster until they are activated.
#Packers ILB Kamal Martin and WR Equanimeous St. Brown are practicing. They’ve been designated to return off IR. Three-week window to activate them.
CB Kevin King (quad) and RB Tyler Ervin (wrist) the only two not practicing today. They’re both working on the side.
— Matt Schneidman (@mattschneidman) October 12, 2020
Martin, the Packers’ fifth-round pick in 2020, underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee shortly after the conclusion of training camp and was placed on IR about a week before their season opener against the Minnesota Vikings. He had been in the mix to start alongside Christian Kirksey prior to his injury and should provide a boost to a young and battered inside ‘backer group when he returns to the fold.
As for St. Brown, the third-year wideout was an unexpected scratch for the Packers in Week 1 and only practiced once more (in a limited capacity) before getting sent to IR with a knee injury ahead of Week 2’s home opener against Detroit. The Packers have remained high on his potential since he caught 21 passes for 328 yards in 2018 as a rookie, but injuries have also kept St. Brown off the field for 22 consecutive games since then.
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Other Key Pieces Also Return to Practice
The Packers didn’t just get a boost from their IR returnees, as four players who missed Week 4’s win over the Atlanta Falcons with injuries were all practicing on Monday.
The two biggest pieces are wide receiver Davante Adams and nose tackle Kenny Clark, who have each missed multiple games and were both listed as questionable against the Falcons. While Adams’ since-deleted tweet about being ruled out in Week 4 signaled he would likely return coming out of the bye, it is reassuring for the Packers to have both him and Clark continuing to move through the regular motions again.
The Packers also had pass rusher Rashan Gary (ankle) and veteran tight end Marcedes Lewis (knee) back on the field for Monday’s practice, suggesting neither of them experienced a setback during the bye week and improving their chances of playing in Week 6.
Kevin King Remains Sidelined With Injury
The Packers weren’t completely free of bad news on Monday.
Starting cornerback Kevin King did not participate in the first practice of the week after getting knocked out of Week 4’s win with a quad injury, raising a possible red flag for the Packers’ secondary heading into this weekend’s matchup with Tom Brady and the Bucs. King has started 21 of the last 22 games for the Packers, including the postseason, but has never played in all 16 regular-season games since coming into the league in 2017.
If King isn’t able to play in Week 6, the Packers would presumably roll with Jaire Alexander and Chandon Sullivan — who also dropped out with an injury against the Falcons but practiced Monday — as their top cornerbacks against the Bucs. Greater roles could also be expected for some of the young backups in the rotation, such as Josh Jackson, Ka’dar Hollman or Parry Nickerson.
The Packers were also without return specialist Tyler Ervin, who has gotten some usage in both the passing and running games this season.