Packers' Jennings returns, feels 'great'
DEC 02, 2012 7:09p ET
Jennings, who hadn't played since Sept. 30 due to a groin and abdominal injury, had four catches for 46 yards in Green Bay 23-14 win over the Minnesota Vikings.
"I felt good," Jennings said. "About the second half, honestly (is when I felt 100 percent). Getting my feet underneath me, getting in a rhythm. After about the second half, it's like, 'OK, I'm out here. I'm back now.'"
Just one month after undergoing abdominal surgery, Jennings didn't play as much as usual early on. In the first half, he had four passes thrown his way by quarterback Aaron Rodgers, but Jennings caught only one of them for nine yards. But following halftime, Jennings played far more snaps and had three receptions.
"They said they were going to kind of take the leash off me after the second half, seeing how I felt after the second quarter, and they held true to that," Jennings said. "It was more of being smart about it. I felt great, feel great now, felt great getting hit a couple times, hitting the ground, getting dirty, making some plays. Now we have to see how this week progresses.
"I feel great."
Jennings was named to two straight Pro Bowls, but the 29-year-old has battled injuries over the past year.
It started with a knee injury that kept Jennings out the final three regular-season games in 2011. Soon after reporting to training camp in July, he suffered a concussion and missed more than two weeks of practice. Then, in the offense's final drive in Week 1, Jennings hobbled off the field with a groin injury. He tried to play through it in Weeks 3 and 4 but then sat out the next seven games. During that span on the sideline, Jennings got a second medical opinion that revealed the injury had become a rectus abdominis tear, which required surgery.
But with four games now remaining in the regular season, Jennings has started the recovery process of trying to get back to playing like the 1,000-yard receiver he was for three consecutive seasons from 2008 to 2010.
"It's nice having him back," Rodgers said. "He's a big-time player. He can make big catches down the field. There were a couple of plays where we were on the same page today, which is fun to get him back out there and still have the same feel that we had previous to the injury.
"We've got to give him more opportunities."
Jennings' return may be even more important to the Packers' offense if the groin injury suffered in Sunday's game by wide receiver Jordy Nelson keeps him out for any period of time. Nelson left in the first quarter and did not return.
"Jordy Nelson, I'm hoping it's not serious," coach Mike McCarthy said. "I talked to him briefly after the prayer but I don't think it's very serious. It's something that flared up in the pregame and he tried to go, and then it obviously flared up on him on that one sideline play."
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