Jordy Nelson’s return to practice was greeted with big cheers as the Green Bay Packers got one of their big playmakers back, the Associated Press reports.
Nelson, who missed all of last season with a knee injury, was limited to individual drills Monday and primarily ran routes on air and caught passes from Aaron Rodgers and rookie backups Joe Callahan and Marquise Williams. His goal is simple in his long-awaited comeback: Be ready to play this year’s season opener on the road against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sept. 11.
“Obviously, there’s prep that goes into the season with the training camp,” Nelson said, “but the important stuff is the games, when it really matters.”
The Packers activated Nelson, entering his ninth year, from the physically unable to perform list last week after he had been out with an injury to his other knee.
After keeping his nose in the playbook and paying close attention to the tendencies of defensive backs as he watched practice while he was sidelined, Nelson doesn’t feel the missed time on the field will be detrimental.
“I felt better today, honestly, than what I thought I was going to be, wind-wise, conditioning-wise, of running those routes and being full padded and everything,” Nelson said. “So I thought that was a good sign.”
He acknowledged with a laugh that his cameo work on the field Monday hardly constituted a practice. But that was good enough for those seated in the nearby bleachers as they cheered every catch by Nelson, who participated in warmups with the team before Green Bay’s preseason game Thursday.
“Yeah, obviously, the fans are excited,” Nelson said. “I’m excited to be back out there practicing and getting ready for Week 1.”
Nelson, who tore the ACL in his right knee in a preseason game last summer at Pittsburgh, doesn’t know if he will be cleared to play any of the Packers’ remaining two exhibition games. That includes Friday night at San Francisco, where Rodgers could get his first preseason action.
“We’re progressing,” said Nelson, then adding, “It’s a fluid situation of how everything reacts and how we feel.”