GREEN BAY – The Packers are hoping cornerback Jaire Alexander can avoid surgery on his injured shoulder, but a path forward has not yet been determined, Head Coach Matt LaFleur said Wednesday.
"We're going to try to avoid that at all costs," LaFleur said regarding surgery, adding later that if the injury does require it, Alexander would most likely be sidelined for the remainder of the season.
As of now, his absence is indefinite as the Packers prepare this week to travel to Cincinnati for a matchup of 3-1 teams.
King has missed the last two games due to a concussion and is close to fully clearing the protocol, LaFleur said.
"It's not easy," LaFleur said of proceeding without Alexander, a second-team All-Pro in 2020. "That guy's a premier corner in this league, but again, we've got other guys in that room we feel really confident with."
Alexander's injury occurred in the second half of last week's game vs. Pittsburgh on a fourth-down stop. He has missed only one game over the past two seasons and four total in the first three years of his career.
Players in the locker room recognize how significant a blow this is to a defense already without second-team All-Pro pass rusher Za'Darius Smith, but there's no lack of confidence in the unit to still get the job done.
"It's obviously big shoes to fill," said receiver Davante Adams, who has been thoroughly impressed with Alexander since his arrival as a first-round pick in 2018. "Jaire is all over the place. He makes a lot of plays." Adams added that King can "hold his own anytime" when healthy.
Alexander's pending absence will shine an even bigger spotlight on rookie first-round draft pick Eric Stokes, whose role and responsibilities already were increasing in recent weeks. Stokes recorded his first NFL interception in the fourth quarter last Sunday.
LaFleur said Stokes "seems to get better and better every day."