Wide receiver Greg Jennings is opting to have surgery on his troublesome “groin” injury, and he doesn’t know when he’ll return to the field, but he believes he’ll be back in 2012.
“My body will tell me that,” Jennings said of his pending recovery, on which he declined to put any kind of timetable. “Hopefully, I can return before the season ends.”
Jennings, who has missed the last three games and four of the last six, went to see a specialist in Philadelphia on Wednesday for a second opinion on his injury, which has been reported as a groin problem. He said he was diagnosed with a tear of an abdominal muscle, and he was given two treatment options.
He can have an injection and hope for a rapid healing and no further complications, or he can have surgery, which he was told increases his odds of getting back to 100 percent.
“An injection would have masked most of the pain, but there’s still no guarantee I’d be able to go out there and hit that last gear, and that’s the one thing I have to have,” Jennings said. “There’s no sense in me taking a shot that may or may not work.”
In the final year of his contract, Jennings didn’t discuss whether his pending free agency played into his decision other than to say “free agency will take care of itself.” He is scheduled to have the surgery in Philadelphia next Tuesday. He said it’s a 20-25 minute outpatient procedure, and he’ll begin his rehab and recovery immediately upon returning to Green Bay.
Jennings was prompted to get a second opinion on his injury this past Sunday when he tried to run off the field in St. Louis after the Rams game and still felt the muscle “grabbing.” He initially injured it on the final series of the opener against San Francisco, sat out the Week 2 game against Chicago, and then returned for the Monday night game in Seattle.
But he lasted only a game and a half, and less than full strength at that, before he was sidelined again after catching a TD pass in the second quarter against New Orleans in Week 4.
In hindsight, he wishes he hadn’t tried to come back for the Seattle game, but said “you can’t change the past.”
“Honestly, I’m over being bummed about it,” he said. “That took place three, four weeks ago. The reality is, it is what it is. I need to take care of it to get back to 100 percent, and that’s the process I’m going to take.”
The Packers already weren’t planning on Jennings playing this week, but they may be down another receiver.
Jordy Nelson sat out practice on Thursday with a hamstring injury, and Mike McCarthy said Nelson wouldn’t practice on Friday, either. The plan is for Nelson to test his hamstring on Saturday or Sunday to see if he can play.
Fortunately, Donald Driver returned to practice after missing Wednesday with neck stiffness, and McCarthy said rookie Jarrett Boykin would be ready to go if needed.
James Jones has been a steady producer at receiver for the Packers all season, while the emerging star continues to be second-year pro Randall Cobb.
Cobb recorded his first 100-yard game two weeks ago in Houston and then caught two TD passes in a game for the first time last week in St. Louis. With the praise quarterback Aaron Rodgers has heaped on Cobb lately, and the current state of the receiving corps, more pressure seems to be building on Cobb, but he welcomes it.
“I love pressure. I’ve always loved pressure,” Cobb said. “It’s a humbling thing, especially when you have a quarterback like Aaron, who’s a potential Hall of Famer one day. That shows he has a lot of confidence in me and he trusts me, and that’s very important as a receiver to know your quarterback has trust in you like that.”
The Packers’ offense has hit its stride the last two weeks without Jennings, with Rodgers throwing nine TD passes and no interceptions in consecutive victories. Whether the unit can stay hot without Nelson, should he be sidelined, could depend on Cobb.
“The main focus is to sustain it,” he said. “I’ve had a little bit of early success, but week in week out we you have to get better, and that’s what I’m trying to do is continue to improve.” Additional coverage - Oct. 25