Initial tests show that Packers receiver Jordy Nelson suffered a torn ACL during today’s game, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). MRI results are still needed to confirm the diagnosis, but if true, Nelson would obviously be sidelined for the entire 2015 season.
The loss of Nelson, 30, constitutes a body blow to a Green Bay offense that ranked first in offensive DVOA last season. Nelson was a major part of that success, catching 98 passes for more than 1,500 yards and 13 touchdowns en route to being named a second-team All Pro. Coming off offseason hip surgery, Nelson was recovering nicely and fully participating during the preseason, so this latest injury is especially devastating.
Second-year pro Davante Adams is likely to move into the starting lineup opposite Randall Cobb, but whether he can replace Nelson’s production is something of a question. In 15 games last season, the 22-year-old Adams caught 38 balls for 446 yards and three scores, numbers that should significantly increase if he becomes a starter. Jeff Janis, Myles White, and rookie Ty Montgomery could also become candidates for increased playing time in Nelson’s absence.
If the Packers opt to bring in a free agent receiver, they could have their pick of several veteran options, including Donnie Avery, Robert Meachem, and Kevin Ogltree. One other option — former Colt Reggie Wayne — might be off the table rather quickly, as reports earlier today indicated he was in New England to take a physical with the Patriots.
Nelson becomes the second No. 1 receiver to suffer an ACL injury in the past week, joining the Panthers’ Kelvin Benjamin.