Jeff Janis was expected to miss some time as a result of a fractured right hand, an injury that may have hurt the wide receiver’s bid to make the Packers’ 53-man roster. Instead, Janis is already back at practice, trying to prove he can play special teams with a cast on it.
According to Rob Demovsky for ESPN.com, Janis has done limited work for the Packers since returning. However, the third-year wideout has tried pushing his comeback, going so far as to catch one pass from quarterback Aaron Rodgers on Monday. Janis believes he can play if he pressed into service.
“I think I could play with it if I had to,” Janis said. “But obviously it’s not ideal. But yeah, if I had to play receiver, I could do it.
“I don’t think in a game [Rodgers] would try to come my way. But if I had to play, I’d definitely try.”
Janis was initially looking at a recovery time of four-to-six weeks. If he can play with a cast on, even if it’s only special teams, the Packers might be looking at having him back in time for Week 1.
Janis has been primarily a special teams player for the Packers in years past, catching just four passes in the regular season. In the playoffs this past season, he flashed the potential to take on more of a role in the offense, hauling in seven passes for 145 yards and two touchdowns in Green Bay’s loss in the NFC Championship game.
It’s unlikely the Packers would thrust Janis into a larger role while his hand is still healing, but no doubt the club appreciates his toughness. Assuming he’s on the team, which looks like an increasingly safe bet, Janis could still get his opportunity once the cast comes off.