Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NFC North [Print without images]

Thursday, September 19, 2013
How the bye factors into injury decisions

By Rob Demovsky

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- If you listened to coach Mike McCarthy on Thursday, then the fact that the Green Bay Packers have their bye next week will not factor into his thinking when it comes to deciding who will play Sunday at Cincinnati.

With several players likely to be in the “questionable” category when those designations are made on Friday, there’s reason to think that the Packers might hold out injured players such as running back Eddie Lacy (concussion) and safety Morgan Burnett (hamstring) for another week even if they could play against the Bengals in order to essentially give them two weeks to rest before the post-bye game against Detroit on Oct. 6.

“It doesn’t affect mine,” McCarthy said when asked if the bye impacts his thinking on injured players. “I hope it doesn’t affect the medical staff, and I hope it doesn’t affect the players because at the end of the day, you’re granted 16 opportunities to play in this league, and it takes everybody to win every one of them.”

In this case, however, it might be worth putting more stock in what the Packers do rather than what they say. Typically, they play it safe with injured players.

Five times so far this season a player has been listed as questionable on their injury report and in only two cases did that player suit up. That’s not to suggest they’re playing games with the injury report but rather to illustrate their point of view with injuries.

“Whoever is ready, whoever we feel gives us the best chance to win, that’s always the approach every single week from a coaching staff,” McCarthy said. “We start meeting on it on Monday morning, (when) players come in for the initial evaluation after the game. It goes on until Monday night.  Tuesday is usually a pretty good indicator. We get together again, so our inactive options and how we lay it all out is a work in progress, and at the end of the day we want to field the best 46 we have that helps us win this football game.”