SAD NEWS: Packers key player suffer career-ending injury…

The Green Bay Packers are trending the right way at receiver, at least, for Sunday’s playoffs-or-bust home game against the Chicago Bears.

For the second consecutive day, all of Green Bay’s banged-up receivers practiced. Unlike Wednesday’s practice, which was conducted at a jog-through tempo to give the players a bit of an extended break after the Sunday night win at Minnesota, Thursday’s practice was the most extensive of the week.

That receiver Christian Watson was out there was a big deal. It was his first 11-on-11 reps since he injured a hamstring late in the victory over the Chiefs. After missing the last four games, it appears the team’s best big-play threat is ready for liftoff.

“For me, I’m approaching every single day like I’m going to be going,” Watson said. “God willing, they let me go out there and I showed them everything they needed to see to let me go out there. So, I’m approaching it like a regular game week, regardless, so I think there’s a high chance for me to play because I’m attacking it like I’m playing.”

Rookie receiver Jayden Reed, who leads the team with 60 receptions and 681 yards and is tied with Romeo Doubs for the team lead with eight touchdown catches, was back on the field, as well, after sitting out the second half at Minnesota with a chest injury.

Rookie receiver Dontayvion Wicks, who had a breakout game with six catches for 97 yards against Tampa Bay before suffering a chest injury on his end-of-the-first-half touchdown at Carolina, practiced, as well, after being inactive against Minnesota.

“To be able to have all of us go out there, play fast and play free and play together is going to be big for us,” Watson said.

Now, the more troubling things for coach Matt LaFleur. The same five players who did not practice on Wednesday – running back AJ Dillon (thumb), safety Rudy Ford (hamstring), left guard Elgton Jenkins (knee/ankle), linebacker Isaiah McDuffie (concussion) and outside linebacker Preston Smith (ankle) – did not practice again on Thursday.

All five play important roles, whether it’s Jenkins as the team’s best blocker or Smith as perhaps the team’s most consistent front-seven defender.

After 1.5 sacks against Carolina and one against Minnesota, Smith is up to eight sacks while providing steady run defense.

Jenkins got hit from behind late in the game by a Vikings tackler and missed the final four plays. A source earlier in the week said Jenkins is expected to play, but that he missed the first two practices could signal he won’t be at his best against a Bears defense that is No. 1 in the league against the run.

McDuffie, who laid on the field for several minutes last week following a concussion, is second on the team with 82 tackles. Former All-Pro De’Vondre Campbell missed the last two weeks but has practiced both days this week.

Tight end Luke Musgrave remains on injured reserve but has practiced both days this week after the kidney injury sustained against the Chargers on Nov. 19.

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