An MRI revealed that Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones has “a mild” MCL sprain and is expected to be out one to two weeks, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Monday.
Jones left Sunday’s 17-0 victory over the Seattle Seahawks in the third quarter with a knee injury, reaching for his right knee at the end of a 6-yard gain. On the CBS TV broadcast, Tracy Wolfson reported that Jones left the medical tent in tears and went to talk to his family.
Jones has suffered MCL sprains before, including one to his right knee during the 2018 season. He missed the final two games of that season. As a rookie in 2017, he missed two games in the middle of the season because of an MCL sprain and then also sat out the season finale because of a similar injury.
The Packers missed the playoffs in both of those seasons, so it’s unknown when Jones could have returned. Packers coach Matt LaFleur sounded relieved on Monday that it wasn’t a worst-case, season-ending injury for Jones.
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“I don’t think it’s going to be long term, but we’ll just monitor it on a daily basis and see how fast he can heal up, because he’s certainly a guy you want out on the field,” LaFleur said. “He does so much for our team, just not only from a production standpoint, but also just the energy he brings to our team is pretty contagious.”
The Packers signed Jones to a four-year, $48 million deal in March.
He had four catches for 61 yards and seven carries for 25 yards when he left the game.
Second-year running back AJ Dillon totaled 128 yards of offense (66 yards on 21 carries and 62 yards on two catches) and two touchdowns versus the Seahawks.
In other injury news, Packers OLB Rashan Gary plans to brace his hyperextended elbow to see if he can try to play Sunday against the Vikings, a source told Schefter. Gary has an MRI on his elbow scheduled for Tuesday to see if anything gets in the way of his plans.
A source also told Schefter that fellow outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus has a torn biceps and will miss the rest of the season. The Packers signed the veteran pass-rusher last month, and he had first sack with the Packers on Sunday against the Seahawks.
“Yeah, that’s a tough one,” LaFleur said. “Man, I feel bad for him. Shoot, he would’ve had potentially a second sack right there. Just the stability he brings to that room and this guy’s a pro’s pro. He’s been doing this at a very high level for a long time. It’s just one of those unfortunate things that happen.”
Even if Gary doesn’t miss a match, the Packers are thin at outside linebacker. There’s no timetable for Za’Darius Smith to return from his back surgery; he has not played since the season opener.
The Packers on Saturday released outside linebacker LaDarius Hamilton, but perhaps general manager Brian Gutekunst will re-sign him.
“I think that’s something that Gutey and our entire scouting department is looking at every potential option,” LaFleur said. “We have some guys on our practice squad and we’ll just kind of see where we have to go.”
Quarterback Blake Bortles’ two-week stint with the Packers, meanwhile, is over. With Aaron Rodgers back and now Kurt Benkert off the reserve/COVID-19 list and back on the practice squad, Bortles was released Monday.
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