The Green Bay Packers suffered some serious injury setbacks in the win against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday. Despite improving to 4-6 and just a game out of the final wild card spot in the NFC Playoffs, the Packers lost two running backs, Aaron Jones and Emanuel Wilson, to injuries. As a result, they brought back James Robinson (practice squad) and Patrick Taylor (active roster).
In addition to these moves, the Packers also released safety Dallin Leavitt, who was flagged twice on the opening kickoff against the Chargers. They also released linebacker Christian Young from their practice squad.
Green Bay will almost certainly go into their Thanksgiving matchup with the Lions fielding a team that is fairly beat up. Their initial injury report ahead of their game lists 16 players. However, one of those players is safety Darnell Savage, who has been on injured reserve for the past four weeks. While Green Bay did not actually practice today, he was estimated to have been a limited participant.
The Green Bay Packers Designate Darnell Savage for Return from Injured Reserve Before Thanksgiving
The Packers’ initial injury report for Week 12 says that the team has designated Savage for return from injured reserve. To be clear, that does not guarantee that Savage will be available for Green Bay on Thursday against Detroit. It does, however, mean that he could be.
When a player is designated for return from injured reserve, teams have a 21-day window during which to activate them. In other words, Savage could return on Thursday, in three weeks, or somewhere in between.
Whenever Savage does return to the field, it will be a big boost for the Packers’ woeful run defense. He is the fourth-highest graded run defender on the team per PFF (technically third, as Justin Hollins is listed as their third-best run defender and he is no longer on the team).
In Savage’s absence, Jonathan Owens as been the other starting safety alongside Rudy Ford. That is, when Ford has been healthy too. The Packers’ starting safeties against the Chargers were Owens and rookie Anthony Johnson Jr.
Savage, of course, is playing in the final year of his rookie contract. It will be interesting to see what the Packers decide to do in regards to his future with the team after the season. Safety is not a deep position on their roster, but Savage also has been inconsistent and injured frequently.
Time will tell.