Packers get encouraging news as Jenkins, Stokes return to practice

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — The Green Bay Packers’ beleaguered and beaten-up offensive line could get an enormous boost for Monday night’s game at the Las Vegas Raiders.

Left guard Elgton Jenkins, who missed the Packers’ last two games with a sprained medial collateral ligament, practiced on Tuesday as the team returned from a break following its Thursday night loss to the Detroit Lions.

“It feels good,” Jenkins said. “Definitely progress from the last two weeks.”

Meanwhile, almost exactly 11 months after sustaining a season-ending foot injury against the Lions, cornerback Eric Stokes made his practice debut on Tuesday.

Stokes remains on the physically unable to perform list. The team will have 21 days to add him to the 53-man roster or place him on season-ending injured reserve.

A first-round pick in 2021, Stokes started 23 of his first 25 games before going down with knee and foot injuries at Detroit on Nov. 6. The knee injury was relatively minor, but the Lisfranc foot injury required season-ending surgery that included a plate and two screws.

“It’s a little jitters, I’m not going to lie,” Stokes said. “It was funny because when I went in the training room to go get tape this morning, I was like, ‘Damn, my stomach hurt.’ It was real-deal hurting for some reason but, the moment I got back out there, it was all good.”

Stokes hoped to be ready for the start of the season but tweaked his hamstring a couple times while doing rehab work during training camp.

“It was very tough because any little thing, I kept feeling like I got closer and closer to making it back and, boom, something else would happen,” Stokes said. “It’s just like, dang. Throughout this whole thing, I feel like it taught me patience more than anything to where I feel like I’m ready.”

The setbacks led to some tough times for the usually happy-go-lucky Stokes, but he had to remind himself that his “worst day is someone else’s great day.”

Just where he’ll play once he’s fully cleared remains to be seen — the Packers seem secure with Jaire Alexander and Rasul Douglas at cornerback and Keisean Nixon in the slot — but that was the least of anyone’s worries on Tuesday.

“We missed him,” Douglas said. “Stokes is like our little brother, so we need him around to get our spirits going and stuff like that. Just happy to have him back.”

While Stokes almost certainly won’t play against the Raiders, Jenkins is hopeful. Without Jenkins, the Packers blew a big lead at Atlanta, were shut out through three quarters of a come-from-behind win against the Saints, and endured five sacks while gaining just 2.3 yards per carry against the Lions.

“Just being able to move and pain and all that,” Jenkins said of the barriers he needs to get past. “You know you’re going to have pain and things like that, but just being able to move, just being able to sustain and play through a whole game.”

If Jenkins plays against the Raiders, he might do so with a brace. He hasn’t worn a brace in a game since his final season at Mississippi State in 2018.

“Kind of took me back to my college days,” Jenkins said. “Really don’t like the brace, but if it’s best for me to be out there and be functional, we can do it.”

NOTES: Alexander, who missed the past two games with a back injury, was back at practice. A matchup against his former teammate, All-Pro WR Davante Adams, awaits. “I’ve been doing some karate chops on his back trying to rush the process,” Douglas said. TE Luke Musgrave practiced after missing most of Thursday’s game with a concussion. LB De’Vondre Campbell (ankle), RG Jon Runyan (ankle) and S Rudy Ford (unknown) were starters who did not practice.