The Green Bay Packers won the game on Sunday versus the New York Giants, but may have lost a key piece of their offense. Wide receiver Jordy Nelson was hit in the ribs by the helmet of Leon Hall and was knocked out of the game. Now, it’s been revealed that he spent the night in a hospital after the game. He will also be out of practice until at least Saturday, and if he can practice then he might have a chance at playing on Sunday.
Mike McCarthy says WR Jordy Nelson "will be in the rehab group until Friday." On Saturday? "If he can practice, then he has a chance."— Ryan Wood (@ByRyanWood) January 9, 2017
The Packers press pressed coach Mike McCarthy on his situation, asking if he had any internal injuries. McCarthy would reveal no more than it’s a rib injury.
The Packers offense is a little different animal without Nelson. He has been playing the whole year, but in the first part of the season he was still recovering from the ACL injury of the previous season and wasn’t nearly as effective. Once he started to round into form, around the same time Aaron Rodgers made his run the table prediction, the Packers offense took off.
But as Nelson regained his explosion, the Packers offense found its groove. Even as they lost shootouts in Nashville and Washington in Weeks 10 and 11, Rodgers and Nelson put up big numbers. But he’s really come on since Rodgers’s prediction. Over the first 10 games, Nelson caught just 56.4 percent of his targets, according to ESPN Stats & Information Group; over the final six, he caught 83 percent of them.
The routes Nelson was running weren’t that much deeper than they had been — his air yards per target, meaning how far past the sticks the ball traveled, only went from 11.87 to 12.43. But the effect of an improved Nelson opened up the offense. Through the first 10 games, only 19 percent of Rodgers’s pass attempts went 15 or more yards down the field; 10 percent went 20 or more yards. Since then, those numbers have spiked to 24.5 percent and 16 percent, respectively.
More numbers that speak to the importance of Nelson to Rodgers and the Packers. Over the past five years Rodgers’ completion percentage is 66.6% with Nelson, 61.4% without him. His QB rating goes from 108.1 with Nelson to 97.7 without him. And his yards per attempt are 8 with Nelson, 6.8 without him. Needless to say Nelson is a huge key to the Packers offense. We never wish injury on anybody, but if he doesn’t go the Cowboys are catching a huge break.
The Packers did get some good news for a couple of other players that suffered injuries.
McCarthy said the team received good news on running back Ty Montgomery and linebacker Blake Martinez. Montgomery sustained a lower-leg injury in the second half against the Giants but returned to the game is expected to practice on Wednesday. Martinez couldn't finish Sunday's game because of a knee injury, but McCarthy said "we got good news on Blake, so I'm hopeful that he may practice this week."