MINNEAPOLIS – The official post-game injury list was just two players long for the Green Bay Packers: Defensive end Jerel Worthy, who injured his left knee, and wide receiver Jarrett Boykin, who suffered an ankle injury.
And while both of their injuries appeared serious as both had to leave Mall of America Field on motorized carts, the list could have been longer, as two high-profile players – wide receiver Jordy Nelson and outside linebacker Clay Matthews returned after each being sidelined with injuries.
“I don’t know how everyone came out,” Nelson said after the Packers’ 37-34 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. “All year guys have stepped up and made plays. We have great depth on this team. That’s what we expect.”
Nelson, who suffered a knee injury on his 73-yard catch-and-run, was officially listed as questionable to return but came back onto the field for the Packers’ final touchdown drive, drawing a critical pass-interference penalty that set up his game-tying touchdown catch with 2:57 to play. He also vowed to play in Saturday night’s NFC Wild Card rematch at Lambeau Field.
Nelson, who’d missed the past three games with a hamstring injury, said he felt he had to go back in after Boykin suffered his injury on a huge fourth-down reception that kept that drive alive.
“You get bumped and bruised throughout the whole game. With the situation we were in, we’re playing playoffs no matter what, so Doc (team physician Pat McKenzie) was cautious about it and wanted to be smart, but when Boykin went down, there was no choice,” Nelson said. “I knew I could get through it and I was able to.
“I told them I was going back in. we were down to Jeremy Ross, who’s been here for two months. I told them if they wanted Zebra (three-receiver personnel) down in the red zone, I’d be able to do it. And we were able to make a play.”
Matthews told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he did not reinjure the hamstring that kept him out of four games earlier this season.
Meanwhile, tight end Jermichael Finley’s left eye was almost swollen shut after he was poked in the eye on his second-quarter reception at the goal line.
“I couldn’t see at all throughout the game. And now, it’s swelling up on me and seems like it’s going to close up on me,” Finley said. “The eye, I had to play. We’re in one of those battles, when you get hit, you have to get back up.”
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