Packers Tight End Misses Practice With New Injury

Tonyan Injury Report

Getty Robert Tonyan #85 of the Green Bay Packers scores a touchdown during the third quarter against the Atlanta Falcons at Lambeau Field on October 05, 2020 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

A Green Bay tight end room once full of capable talent is now down to just one healthy member after Packers starter Robert Tonyan was sidelined during Wednesday’s practice with a new ankle injury.

Tonyan caught three passes for 25 yards during Sunday’s 38-10 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but was briefly forced to come out of the game after appearing to hurt his ankle. While it was an encouraging sign he was able to return and finish the game, the Packers’ decision to hold him back in practice and add him to the Week 7 injury report leaves his status in question against the Houston Texans this Sunday.

Tonyan currently measures as the Packers’ fourth-leading receiver with 16 receptions, 198 yards and a team-high five touchdown catches on 18 targets. The 26-year-old tight end also delivered a breakout performance against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 4 prior to the team’s bye week, catching six passes for 98 yards and three touchdowns.

The Packers now have injuries plaguing three of the four tight ends who began the season on their active roster with Jace Sternberger — a 2019 third-round pick — the only exception. Veteran Marcedes Lewis was limited Wednesday with a knee injury that has been bothering him since Week 4, while third-round rookie Josiah Deguara was placed on injured reserve last week after a season-ending ACL tear.

Sternberger could be in line for his most opportunities of the season if Tonyan is anything less than 100% healthy on game day against the Texans, but the Packers also have a few practice-squad options in Nakia Griffin-Stewart and newly-signed Dominique Dafney to consider for elevations on game day.

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Tonyan Has Started Hot in 2020

Despite flashing moments of big-play potential in early 2019, Tonyan was mostly a letdown last season with just 10 catches for 100 yards and a touchdown to his name. He missed about a month with a hip injury and was hampered even further by a core-muscle injury that required him to undergo surgery this past offseason. The end result saw him mostly forgotten after Sternberger built some hype during the playoffs.

Five games into the 2020 season, though, and it has become difficult to imagine the Packers offense without him. His dominant game against the Falcons might have been the moment he bodied his way into the national spotlight, but he caught a touchdown pass in each of his previous two performances prior to that.

The way Matt LaFleur’s passing offense makes use of running backs and tight ends, it seemed only a matter of time before Tonyan broke out.

“When you see a guy pushing through an injury like that, not making excuses and trying to suit up every single week, you can’t help but gain a lot of respect for them,” Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said in early October. “And I don’t think it was just myself. There were a lot of people who really saw that and saw he was trying to battle to be out there, that he earned a lot of our respect.”

According to Pro Football Focus, Rodgers had gone 9-for-9 passing with 137 yards and five touchdowns when targetting Tonyan on his first read coming into Week 6’s game.

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