Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Sports

As injuries pile up, Packers left searching for more options in backfield

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    Packers running back Ty Montgomery runs during the first half of a preseason game Thursday against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Green Bay.

    Jeffrey Phelps

GREEN BAY — Injuries and unexpected developments have left the Packers thin at running back with just two camp practices and two games left in the preseason.

Only Ty Montgomery, who has overcome injury issues in the past, and little-known halfback Joel Bouagnon have made it through camp unscathed.

The Packers were forced to sign Bronson Hill and LeShun Daniels over the weekend to replenish depth. Hill spent two games on Arizona’s 53-man roster after bouncing around a host of practice squads. Daniels played four games for Washington last season.

“We’re a little thin at running back,” coach Mike McCarthy said Monday. “We’ve got a number of different balls in the air, (more) than I recall at this particular juncture of a training camp.”

A hamstring injury has forced Aaron Jones to miss most of camp. Jones, who has yet to play in a preseason game after a breakout rookie season, will miss the Sept. 9 regular-season opener against the Chicago Bears and the Sept. 16 game against Minnesota after being suspended by the NFL for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.

Jones injured his hamstring early in camp and took part in 11-on-11 team drills for the first time again on Monday.

“Hopefully Aaron will get to go more into Oakland,” McCarthy said.

Jamaal Williams said Monday that his ankle injury suffered in last week’s preseason win over Pittsburgh was the result of Steelers linebacker Vince Williams grabbing and twisting it at the end of a run.

Jamaal Williams did not practice Monday, but took handoffs and appeared to move well during a workout with the medical staff. He said he planned on kicking the next defensive player who does what he says Vince Williams did.

“If the ref asks why I’m kicking, I’ll be like, ‘Hey, he’s twisting ankles.’ I’m just going to do what I’ve got to do to survive honestly,” the running back said.

“I’m not trying to get hurt and not be able to play anymore because somebody wants to be aggressive and do dirty things like that. So why can I not protect myself from those type of injuries?”

Devante Mays, who made the team as a seventh-round pick last year, won’t play again this week because of a lingering hamstring injury. He is running out of time to make the roster, McCarthy said.

“There’s a sense of urgency,” Mays said. “I want to get back out there as soon as I can. But I also want to be smart with it because if I try to push it too fast and go back out there, then it’s more disappointment.”

And there’s the unexpected retirement of promising rookie Akeem Judd, who was placed on the reserve/​retired list after informing McCarthy on Friday that he was walking away from the game.

McCarthy said he was disappointed that Judd, who joined the team a week into camp after Jones’ and Mays’ injuries, decided to walk away but respected his decision. Judd became the third young player in the past month to tell the Packers that he was retiring, joining linebacker Parris Bennett and wide receiver Michael Clark.

Judd had an 11-yard run against Tennessee in the preseason opener and showed enough promise that McCarthy had planned to give him more opportunities this week.


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