Injured Randall Cobb hopes to return for Packers opener

Associated Press

September 2, 2015


Green Bay Packers' Jordy Nelson talks to Randall Cobb (18) before a preseason NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles Saturday, Aug. 29, 2015, in Green Bay, Wis.

GREEN BAY The Green Bay Packers have some good news about their injury-stricken receiving corps.

Randall Cobb hopes to be back for the season opener on Sept. 13 against the Chicago Bears after spraining his shoulder in a preseason game last week against Philadelphia.

"I don't plan on missing a game. I'm going to do everything I can to get back," he said Tuesday.

Jared Abbrederis returned to practice after being cleared from a concussion from the first day of camp in late July. Abbrederis is way behind the other receivers in practice, though he is slated to play in the final preseason game Thursday against New Orleans.

Every reinforcement helps a week after losing top receiver Jordy Nelson to a season-ending right knee injury.

Cobb, a five-year veteran, fell hard on his right side and had another player land on him while trying to make a catch on Green Bay's first drive Saturday against Philadelphia.

Coach Mike McCarthy shot down questions about injuries before practice on Tuesday. His focus appeared to be trained on looming decisions about roster cuts and the final preseason game.

But the sight of Cobb standing behind the offense or watching receiver drills was a pleasant development for Packers fans on the last day of open practice in training camp. He did not wear a sling or any other protective gear on his shoulder.

The swelling still needs to go down, he said.

"I'm doing everything in my power to get back before (the season opener), but we still don't know severity," Cobb said. "It definitely is a lot better then what we all thought it was in the beginning."

Any practice time helps develop familiarity. Then again, Cobb has proven he can step right into the lineup and be effective after a long layoff. He missed 10 weeks in 2013 with a leg injury before returning in the regular season finale to catch the winning touchdown against the Bears with 38 seconds left.

"He's to the point now where I think he could mentally prepare himself and come out and be ready to go on Sunday," quarterbacks and receivers coach Alex Van Pelt said.

Getting to stretch in pads with his teammates alone could have made Abbrederis smile on a hot afternoon. He darted around the field and dove for balls in practice.

"I'm glad it looked like that because I was dying," he joked. "I was excited to be back out there, definitely."

An in-state native, Abbrederis is a fan favorite after playing his college ball at Wisconsin, where he went from walk-on to one of the program's best receivers.

But Abbrederis has been hampered by injuries since being drafted in the fifth round by the Packers in 2014. Last season, Abbrederis tore his right ACL early in training camp. This year, the concussion set him back.

"He laid out for a ball today, went face first into the ground, popped right back up," Van Pelt said. "We kind of joked about it and said, 'OK, you passed your test, now you're good to go.'"

While Abbrederis didn't think it would take him so long to be cleared from a concussion, he expressed gratitude to the Packers for their diligence in making sure he was OK.

Abbrederis also spoke with former Wisconsin teammate and San Francisco 49ers linebacker Chris Borland, who retired after his rookie season citing concern about head trauma over a career.

Receivers don't take as many hard shots as linebackers, Abbrederis said, so "it's totally different but it was nice talking to him and get that confidence in myself to go out there so I'm not worried about taking hits."

NOTES: Rookie WR Ty Montgomery (hamstring), backup CB Demetri Goodson (knee) and starting ILB Sam Barrington (ankle) missed practice. ... Nelson was placed on season-ending injured reserve on Tuesday with teams required to trim rosters to 75 players. WRs Javess Blue and Jimmie Hunt were designated waived/injured. Released were QB Matt Blanchard, WR James Butler, LB Adrian Hubbard, DB Kyle Sebetic and TE Harold Spears.