Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur offered a more sobering take on the availability of running back Aaron Jones and wide receiver Christian Watson in Week 4. The Packers are hoping to have both players on the same game field for the first time all season against the Detroit Lions on Thursday.
Packers players were more than optimistic both Jones and Watson could play the Lions. Watson said “the plan” is for him to play Thursday night. Many reporters and fans took Watson’s comments to mean the Packers expected him to play.
Wide receiver Romeo Doubs expects Jones to play. The second-year wide receiver said the Packers would have Jones back to play against the Lions.
But Watson and Doubs won’t get the final say on the injured player’s availability.
Matt LaFleur releases different take on Green Bay Packers injuries
According to the Packers, LaFleur gave updates on Watson and Jones after practice Tuesday. LaFleur said the Packers are “cautiously optimistic” they can return Thursday night:
Packers Head Coach Matt LaFleur told reporters on Tuesday evening he’s “cautiously optimistic” about running back Aaron Jones‘ availability this Thursday against Detroit.
That said, Green Bay will take the week to assess the progress Jones and receiver Christian Watson are making from the hamstring injuries that sidelined the Packers’ top two playmakers the past couple weeks.
“I don’t want to sacrifice one game for a longer period of time. I don’t think anybody does,” said LaFleur on Tuesday. “Certainly, we all want him out there. We know how valuable (Jones) is to our football team in so many aspects, whether he’s got the ball or not. But we want to make sure he’s able to protect himself and not going to be at further risk for injury.”
While the plan very well could be for Jones and Watson to play, that doesn’t mean the plan won’t fall to the wayside if they’re not ready to play. Given that they were limited in practice Tuesday, it’s fair to say they’re not 100 percent.
We’ll see what their game designation is on Wednesday. It would be beneficial for the Packers to have them back in a bid to take the lead in the NFC North. But only if they can be assured that it won’t cost them more games in the long run.
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