GREEN BAY – Jordy Nelson has not been ruled out for Sunday’s playoff game in Dallas.
The Packers’ leading receiver will be rehabbing his rib injury all week, Head Coach Mike McCarthy said on Monday, and whether or not he can practice on Saturday will determine his availability for the Cowboys game.
“Saturday if he can practice, he may have a chance,” said McCarthy, declining to go into the specifics of Nelson’s injury. “We’re not going to do anything until Saturday. I’ll know more probably on Friday.
“If he doesn’t practice Saturday, he won’t play in the game.”
Nelson took a shot to the ribs from Giants safety Leon Hall while trying to catch a sideline pass with 11 minutes left in the second quarter of the wild-card game.
He was carted to the locker room and everything about his demeanor indicated he was in significant pain, both physically and emotionally. McCarthy said Nelson spent the evening in the hospital, and he was at Lambeau Field on Monday getting treatment.
In his absence against the Giants, both Davante Adams (eight catches, 125 yards, TD) and Randall Cobb (5-116, 3 TDs) had big games and helped pull the offense out of its early-game struggles.
It was the first time the Packers had started a game that slowly on offense during their seven-game winning streak. Green Bay punted in its first five possessions before scoring five touchdowns and a field goal on its next eight.
Sputtering out of the gate again would not be ideal on Sunday in the divisional round against top-seeded Dallas. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers has shown he can right the ship, but doing so on the road against a team looking for its first appearance in the NFC title game in 22 years would be much more difficult.
“There’s gonna be a ton of energy down there,” McCarthy said. “You want to start fast. We’ve done a very good job of that these last two months.
“I was disappointed in the way we started. It was just getting back to basics. I could have done a better job getting Aaron into a flow. It’s not always what you call, but when you call it and how you line them up.”
Rodgers was just 6-of-14 passing for 54 yards through the first five fruitless drives, a 53.9 rating. The rest of the game, he was 19-of-26 for 308 yards with four TDs for a 151.9 rating, raising his full-game rating to 125.2.
It marked the sixth time in the seven-game winning streak that Rodgers has posted a rating above 100, and he’s been above 125 three times in the last four games.
“I think it’s clearly one of his better stretches,” McCarthy said when asked if it’s the best Rodgers has ever played.
McCarthy also brought up the 2011 season, when Rodgers won his first MVP and posted an NFL-record 122.5 passer rating for the entire year.
“That was an incredible stretch, as good a football as I’ve seen from that position, personally,” he said. “But this definitely ranks up there.”
During the seven straight wins, Rodgers has thrown 19 touchdown passes without an interception. His ability to protect the football so well while rifling passes at all depths and angles has been invaluable.
In fact, the Packers have just one turnover on offense during the winning streak, and it came in the second game of the seven.
Contrast that with the first meeting against the Cowboys this season, when the Packers turned it over four times and were minus-2 for the game, and it becomes imperative the team’s current trend continues.
“We haven’t turned the ball over, and that’s going to be critical,” McCarthy said. “It’s going to be a huge part of our success Sunday.
“We’re going to line up and play Green Bay Packer football. We’re fully focused on doing everything we need to do to go to Dallas and win the game.”