GREEN BAY – It was a good news, bad news day on the health front for the Packers.
Second-year cornerback Quinten Rollins, who has missed the last three games with a groin injury, was back on the practice field Wednesday for limited work at the same time fellow cornerback Demetri Goodson has entered the concussion protocol.
On the offensive side, center JC Tretter has been sidelined with a knee injury, but Corey Linsley is ready to step in as he enters his third week of practice coming off the physically unable to perform list.
“It’s good to get back out there instead of being on the sidelines,” Rollins said. “The fact that I was a little active today, that helps, but I’m still day to day.”
Cornerback Damarious Randall (groin) remains out for now, but at least there’s a chance Rollins can come back to help in the secondary if Goodson isn’t cleared this week. Undrafted rookie Josh Hawkins would be the other option at cornerback as Green Bay’s injury carousel continues to revolve.
Meanwhile, linebacker Clay Matthews (hamstring) and receivers Ty Montgomery (illness) and Randall Cobb (hamstring) also worked out Wednesday on a limited basis. All three missed last week’s game against Atlanta.
Cobb said he was able to do more at practice on Wednesday than last week, making him “hopeful” for Sunday vs. Indianapolis, but he has to see how his body responds as the week moves forward.
“It was very hard,” Cobb said of missing his first game since late in the 2013 season. “I want to be out there every week when I can, but you have to have people around you to protect you from yourself at times.
“You have to look at the big picture. We’ve got nine games in a row coming up. We don’t have a bye, we don’t have much time. It’s going to go straight into playoffs, so we have to make sure we’re looking big picture.”
The story at center, strangely, continues to repeat itself. Nearly 2½ years after Linsley assumed Tretter’s starting job due to a preseason knee injury, and now a few months removed from the tables being turned due to Linsley’s offseason hamstring problem, it appears to be Linsley back in the saddle.
There’s been no timetable revealed on Tretter’s latest knee injury, which occurred on the final offensive drive in Atlanta, but Linsley is prepared to fill in for as long as needed.
He still needs to be officially activated from PUP and placed on the 53-man roster, but a spot is available for whenever the move is made. It helps that Linsley is preparing for a home game for his first contest, because the extra work on crowd noise and the silent count can wait for now.
Having missed most of the offseason program and all of training camp, Linsley returned to practice on the short week leading up to the Thursday game against the Bears, so his only full-pads practice was last week.
Thursday will be another full-pads workout for the third-year pro following a Wednesday practice during which he said quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw all sorts of cadences, line checks and adjustments at him to test his sharpness.
“I’m not worried about Corey,” Rodgers said. “Corey has been a center his entire life.”
It hasn’t been fun to sit out for multiple months after playing in 33 of a possible 36 games (including playoffs) through the 2014-15 seasons, but Linsley, like Rodgers, has no worries about chemistry issues with his fellow linemates.
“I didn’t feel forgotten,” Linsley said, even though he couldn’t practice for so long. “Our O-line room is so tight, it’s kind of one big family that we have, so in essence I didn’t feel removed from it.”