GREEN BAY – Thirteen players on the injury report is a lot, especially for Week 3, but the Packers actually did get some good news on the health front Wednesday.
Receiver Jordy Nelson (quad), right tackle Bryan Bulaga (ankle), and linebacker Ahmad Brooks (concussion) were all full participants in a light practice, putting them on track to potentially get back in action Sunday vs. the Bengals.
Nelson's health was the somewhat surprising development after he left last Sunday's loss in Atlanta in the first quarter. The knee of a Falcons defender collided with Nelson's thigh and gave him a charley horse that didn't loosen up enough for him to return, despite riding a bike on the sideline and repeatedly trying to work through it.
"Today it feels a lot better than what it did on Sunday night, so everything is headed in the right direction," Nelson said. "My expectations are to play, but you don't know what can happen between now and then. That was my expectation when I came in here Monday morning as well."
Fellow receiver Randall Cobb (chest) did not practice, though.
The news was similarly split with the Packers' top offensive tackles. While David Bakhtiari (hamstring) sat out practice, Bulaga was back at it.
Bulaga has yet to play in the regular season following an ankle injury in training camp, and then a bout with the flu last week.
Both were a factor in him sitting out a second straight game in Atlanta, but he called Wednesday a "good step" on his road back, and he's hoping Thursday's full-pads practice will be another.
"It was a positive start, moving around and not having too much restricted movement," he said. "I'll wake up tomorrow, see how it feels, let the doc look at it, and move on from there."
Guard Jahri Evans (groin) also practiced in full, while backup tackle Jason Spriggs (hamstring) remained sidelined.
On the defensive side, Brooks was cleared from the concussion protocol, a timely move given that starting outside linebacker Nick Perry (hand) is now on the injury report and didn't practice.
Brooks got a concussion in Week 1 vs. Seattle when he inadvertently knocked helmets with teammate Clay Matthews while trying to execute a line stunt to rush the passer.
"We ran a game, and I ran it wrong," Brooks said. "I came in too early. He did everything right and I ran into him, so I just got the worst of it."
Signed as a free agent as the preseason wrapped up, the former 49ers star immediately became the Packers' No. 3 edge rusher, and he could slide up to No. 2 now depending on Perry's injury.
"I'm very eager to get out there and play," Brooks said after exiting his Green Bay debut so early. "This is my 12th year in the NFL, and I'm coming off being released from a team. I really want to show what I'm about."
Also along the defensive front, rookie lineman Montravius Adams (foot) was listed as a full participant in practice for the first time since getting hurt in the second practice of training camp. That could be another timely addition to the lineup with Mike Daniels (hamstring) sitting out practice.
Meanwhile, inside linebacker Jake Ryan (hamstring/concussion) was added to the injury list.
In the secondary, neither safety Kentrell Brice (groin) nor cornerback Davon House (quad) practiced, but House doesn't feel his injury is "that bad."
He admitted it's difficult to resist pushing himself to get back sooner with the injury list so extensive and so many teammates banged up.
"It is, especially after a loss," House said. "You want to bounce back, and show everyone that we're better than what we put on tape last week."
All in all, the Packers' injury situation is frustrating for all involved, and it's potentially even more problematic with two games coming up in a span of five days. After facing Cincinnati on Sunday, Green Bay hosts Chicago next Thursday night.
But that's next week, even though it'll be here soon enough, and another round of decisions will have to be made, quickly.
"It's a little disappointing just because we came out of training camp so healthy, and how quick it caught up with us," Nelson said of the early-season injuries. "Hopefully we're getting it out of the way early and guys can get back healthy as soon as possible. It's obviously a long road. A week here or there is worth it compared to another five or six down the road."