The Green Bay Packers will face the NFL’s best defense with a banged up backfield. Both starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers and starting running back Eddie Lacy were limited during Thursday’s practice. The team does expect both players to play and have them listed as probable.
Rodgers has been nursing a strained left calf for several weeks and visibly looked less than 100 percent when stepping up to make throws.
Rodgers has developed the reputation as one of the league’s best quarterbacks because of his ability to run as well as throw. During the Packers 26-21 victory over the Dallas Cowboys at Lambeau Field in the divisional round, Rodgers did not look like he could nor was confident to run for very many yards. He stopped short the line of scrimmage several times looking, and almost hoping, for a receiver to throw to rather than run.
“I think I got 120 minutes left in me,” the MVP favorite said after the game on Sunday.
Rodgers added when asked how his calf felt as the game progressed: “A little bit worse, yeah. Hard to say, see how it feels in the morning.”
However, the Seahawks will prepare for the Packers as if Rodgers is healthy. Safety Earl Thomas is not concerned about the the star quarterback’s left calf.
“I’m not buying into this leg issue,” he said Thursday. “I’m not buying into it. I saw him scramble close to the goal line on the Cowboys, so he’s not fooling me with that.”
Thomas’ defensive back mate Kam Chancellor shed a little more light on how the team views Rodgers’ injury status.
“That’s the mentality you’ve got to have,” Chancellor said. “I’m not really concerned with his hobby or wobbly calf, whatever. I’m concerned about Aaron Rodgers. If he’s in that game, no matter how he’s feeling, he’s still Aaron Rodgers. He’s capable of making plays, capable of getting the ball downfield, getting it to his receivers and just running their offense.”
Despite looking hobbled during the entire game against the Cowboys. Rodgers was able to make plays. It would take a drastic turn of events for the Packers to turn to backup Matt Flynn in the NFC championship game.
As for Lacy, the running back left practice early, but is not a concern for McCarthy on Sunday.
“Eddie Lacy’s knee is sore,” the coach said. “I think Eddie will be ready to go on Sunday. Just the coach was nervous.”
The Packers have a capable running back behind Lacy in James Starks, but have a better chance of upsetting the Seahawks on the road with their starter in the lineup.
The complete injury report
The Packers list defensive tackle Josh Boyd (ankle), Lacy (knee), Rodgers (calf) and guard Josh Sitton (toe) as probable for Sunday’s game. The Packers did not practice Friday, but estimated that all four players would have been limited if they had.
The Seahawks had not updated their game status or Friday’s practice injury report as of early Friday afternoon. But, based on Thursday’s report, which listed everyone as full participants and likely will be probable for Sunday’s game. On the report were defensive end Michael Bennett (not injury related), offensive tackle Justin Britt (knee), safety Jeron Johnson (elbow), running back Marshawn Lynch (not injury related), defensive tackle Tony McDaniel (shoulder), tight end Tony Moeaki (calf) and center Max Unger (ankle).
Joseph Gunther is an avid fan of Minnesota sports, including football, hockey and baseball. He covered a wide variety of sports while attending Hastings College in Hastings, Neb. While at Hastings College, he was a part of the first collegiate media group to broadcast a national tournament via television, radio, internet and newspaper at the 2004 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Tournament. He grew up in the Twin Cities playing three years of varsity football in high school. Joseph is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.