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Thursday night's matchup pits the Green Bay Packers against the Chicago Bears. There is one particularly key fantasy player in question and it looks as though he could be a game-time decision.
|Greg Jennings had five catches for 34 yards before leaving last Sunday's game early.|
Greg Jennings, WR, Green Bay Packers (groin [D]): Jennings left Sunday's game early with a groin injury and did not practice Tuesday or Wednesday. The doubtful tag would normally represent a highly unlikely chance of Jennings suiting up, as would his inability to practice at all this week, but Jennings has not counted himself out. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Jennings wants to play and one source says his chances of doing so are "50/50." As a talented veteran, Jennings may indeed be given more latitude to play if he makes significant improvements before kickoff. The rehab staff put Jennings through a variety of drills Wednesday and as coach Mike McCarthy told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel afterward, "I'll get the evaluation and then, frankly, [Thursday] will be the deciding factor."
It seems the odds are against Jennings suiting up. There has been little recovery time between games. Even if he demonstrated improvement in individual drills, the test of real game action is always more demanding [e] and riskier. The potential for aggravating a groin injury and having it turn into a multi-week problem always exists when the athlete is operating at less than full health. And if he does play, what will his contribution be? Will he see fewer snaps in an effort to limit his exposure? Will he be able to shake defenders as easily if his mobility is compromised? One of the biggest challenges with a groin injury is losing power with straight running and losing sharp lateral mobility with directional change. Veterans like Jennings will often push to play despite being at less than 100 percent, but the body does not always cooperate. Unfortunately for fantasy owners, if Jennings does end up active, there will be uncertainty as to just how well he is able to perform.
James Starks, RB, Green Bay Packers (toe [D]): This doubtful tag leaves far less doubt in its interpretation. Starks has been dealing with a turf toe injury since the preseason and just returned to limited practice Wednesday. It appears too early for him to be game ready, but with the extra time between now and the Packers' Week 3 contest, it's possible he could be in the mix then.
Brian Urlacher, LB, Chicago Bears (knee [P]): Before this season began, Urlacher, who sprained his left MCL and PCL late last season and underwent arthroscopic surgery in August, noted that he would likely have to "manage" his knee throughout the course of the year. The coaches are helping him to do just that as he was removed from Sunday's game early and was held out of practice through Tuesday. Urlacher returned to full practice Wednesday, however, and is expected to play tonight.
Charles Tillman, CB, Chicago Bears (shin [Q]): Tillman left Sunday's game early after injuring his lower right leg and the team has not elaborated on the specifics. He did not practice early in the week but returned Wednesday for the team's pregame walk-through (officially listed as a limited participant). At questionable, his status for Thursday's game is up in the air. If he does not go, Kelvin Hayden is expected to assume his role.