this July 30, 2015, file photo, Green Bay Packers' Jordy Nelson
takes a break during NFL football training camp, in Green Bay,
Wisc. Nelson, who is starting the 2016 training camp on the
physically unable to perform list, says he had a minor issue
with his left knee this offseason. Nelson called it a “little
hiccup,” and that he wasn’t worried about it. Coach Mike
McCarthy also says he has no long-term concern with Nelson’s
GREEN BAY — Jordy
Nelson called it a "hiccup." How long Packers fans have to
hold their breath remains to be seen.
As his teammates
opened practice Tuesday, Green Bay's talented receiver said a minor
issue with his left knee contributed to a delay in his long-awaited
return. He will have to wait a little longer to return to practice
after having missed the entire 2015 season with a torn ACL in his
That knee, Nelson
stressed, feels great.
training this summer, I had an incident with the other knee. Nothing
serious. Just something minor. A little hiccup in it," said
Nelson, who was forced to watch his teammates run through drills.
"Our end goal is
the same," Nelson said. "We'll be ready for the regular
Coach Mike McCarthy
said he had no long-term concerns about Nelson, either. The Packers
had talked about proceeding cautiously with Nelson, anyway.
But Nelson, who
doesn't like to talk about injuries, realizes that even the hint of a
new potential problem might send panic through the Packers' passionate
fan base. He sought to ease those concerns.
"I'm not worried
about it. If it was something more serious, I'd kind of be a little
nervous," Nelson said. Later, he added, "Again, not the ACL.
No one needs to freak out."
Nelson was the
Packers' top deep threat when he got hurt in a preseason game 11
months ago. He also displayed an uncanny ability to make tough
sideline catches, as if tiptoeing on a high wire. Nelson, paired with
Randall Cobb, gave two-time MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers one of the
top receiving tandems in the league.
But the offense took
a step back last season, in part because of Nelson's absence. Without
a consistent deep threat, defenses played press coverage on receivers.
This preseason, the
Packers have an extra week to prepare because they are playing in the
Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio, on Aug. 7. Nelson, who is entering
his ninth NFL season, is renowned for his work ethic. He's built
chemistry with Rodgers over the years.
Rodgers doesn't think
it will take that long to rebuild that connection on the field.
couple days. He's a special guy. We're going to need a little bit of
time, not necessarily game reps but just some reps in practice,"
Like for Nelson to
get the feel again of going against press coverage and making the
right cut to get open. At his best, Nelson doesn't need a lot of space
to make a catch.
that he'll get to a point where he'll be ready to play when we need
him," Rodgers said.
Nelson isn't quite as
sure about the process of rebuilding timing. Coming back from such a
serious injury is new to him. He's trying to stay away from specifying
a timetable, other than the regular season opener on Sept. 11 against
At the same time,
he's confident in his preparation. He's in every meeting.
"But mentally I
think I'll be sharp," Nelson said. "It's my ninth year with
(Rodgers) so it'll just be getting used to seeing the ball again and
we'll be able to do that toward the end of camp."
NOTE: LB Clay
Matthews said he had not yet been interviewed by NFL officials looking
into a media report from January that linked him to
performance-enhancing drugs. Earlier this week, the NFL said it found
no credible evidence that now-retired Denver quarterback Peyton
Manning was provided with human growth hormone or other prohibited
substances as alleged in a documentary by Al-Jazeera America last
year. Matthews has steadfastly denied the allegation. "But the
truth will come out and everything I said when the allegations came
out I still stand by, so I just try to kind of put that in the
rearview mirror and focus on the season," Matthews said. LB
Julius Peppers, who was also named in the report, also stood by an
earlier denial. "I'm just trying to focus on camp and getting
ready to play games ... not nonsense," Peppers said.