How RB Aaron Jones' Injury Changes Packers Plans in Backfield
Packers running back Aaron Jones will miss the next three to six weeks with a sprained MCL, per Adam Schefter on Twitter.
Jones left the field during the first half of the Packers game in Chicago Sunday in visible discomfort and was carted to the locker room. He had produced twelve yards on three carries prior to leaving the game. The injury in question appears to have taken place on his final carry:
In his absence, Ty Montgomery and Jamaal Williams had productive days. Montgomery carried six times for 54 yards before he, too, left with an injury, and Williams carried 21 times for 67 yards, including a key fourth down conversion late in the game.
What Aaron Jones’ injury means for the Packers
Losing Jones is a significant blow to an already shaky offense. Jones has been easily the most dynamic runner in the Packers’ backfield, producing steadily since his breakout debut against the Cowboys.
The Packers don’t have anyone who can replace Jones from a skill set standpoint. Neither Williams or Montgomery (if he’s even available in the short term) are as explosive as Jones, though each can contribute in their own way.
The Packers will likely have to be more creative with their running game in the short term, and we’ll probably see the offensive debut of seventh round pick Devante Mays.
Mays has been active for three games so far this season, but has yet to take a snap on offense, lining up exclusively on special teams.
What this means for Aaron Jones
Depending on the success of the rest of the team and the severity of the injury, this could actually be the last we see of Jones this season. If it’s a relatively mild sprain and he returns in three weeks, we can reasonably expect him to resume his role in the offense with little interruption.
If, however, he ends up closer to the six week end of the recovery timeline, the Packers may just decide to shut him down for the year, especially if they’ve been eliminated from playoff contention. There would be little reason to rush back a player for meaningless games at the end of the season.
In any case, this injury could actually serve to solidify his role in the Packers’ offense. If the ground game struggles without him (and it certainly could in a big way), Jones could be in line for a bigger role down the road. In any case, a sprained MCL seems unlikely to derail what looks to be a very promising beginning for a young Packers player.