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Of the 16 players who had per-game roster bonuses for the Green Bay Packers this past season, only two of them — tight end Lance Kendricks and kicker Mason Crosby — collected the full amount.

The other 14 combined to miss a total of 57 games, therefore losing more than $2 million in bonus money this season.

The biggest loser was right tackle Bryan Bulaga, who missed out on $412,500 in weekly roster bonuses. His contract calls for a bonus of $37,500 for each game he’s on the 46-man active roster. Bulaga tore his ACL and played in only five games, thus collecting just $187,500 of a potential $600,000.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers missed out on $337,500 because he missed nine games because of his broken collarbone. The Packers saved the same amount with tight end Martellus Bennett, who appeared in only seven games for the Packers, although he did collect two more weeks of $37,500 bonuses from the Patriots, who got two games out of him after they claimed him off waivers.

Kendricks earned all $300,000 of his weekly roster bonus money because he was active all 16 regular-season games, and Crosby earned all $150,000 of his.

In all, the Packers paid out $5,981,250 of a possible $8 million in weekly roster bonuses — or 74.8 percent of the possible 2017 total. The unpaid $2,018,750 will be credited to the team’s 2018 salary cap.

In 2016, the Packers paid out 83.4 percent of their possible weekly roster-bonus money — another indication they were more injured this season, when they went 7-9 and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2008.

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Lance Kendricks and Richard Rodgers are what remains of the Green Bay Packers’ tight end group … if you can call two players a group.

They not only were left to try to salvage the position but also answer questions about their former teammate, Martellus Bennett, whose bizarre saga with the Packers took another turn when he was claimed off waivers by the Patriots on Thursday.

Kendricks, who grew close to Bennett in part because the two free agents both arrived this offseason, said he has been in touch with his former teammate.

Rodgers took more of the don’t-let-the-door-hit-you-on-the-way-out approach.

“I think we know where we’re trying to go,” Rodgers said. “If someone is not on that boat, it’s better that they’re not here. We’re looking to move on. We know our ultimate goal. We have to continue to execute on offense.”

Neither Rodgers nor anyone else would say for certain that they believed Bennett tried to force his way out of Green Bay after the Packers’ season took a turn for the worse following Aaron Rodgers’ injury.

“I don’t know if that was his plan,” Richard Rodgers said. “I don’t know if that was his intention. But it doesn’t matter to me.”

The fourth-year tight end admitted he did not get to know Bennett well.

“We weren’t around each other for very long,” Richard Rodgers said. “We’re in here working together, but that’s pretty much it.”

Still, no one was quite sure what happened, either. All they know is after their quarterback broke his collarbone, Bennett went home for the bye and posted on social media saying he was “pretty sure” this would be his final season. He then came back to Green Bay for the first practice after the week off and the next day showed up with a shoulder injury.

“I don’t know what happened,” Kendricks said. “I can say he’s the biggest team player. I’m not sure what the disconnect might be.”

Bennett, 30, never addressed the retirement talk in detail. He offered only a one-word explanation when asked what led him to that decision: “Life.” But there were those around the Packers who didn’t think Bennett was serious about quitting, saying it was just “Marty being Marty.”

Bennett, normally outspoken on social media, wrote a couple of posts after the Patriots claimed him. One tweet said: “I’ll tell y’all everything one day, but wow.”

Unless the Packers (4-4) add a tight end before Sunday’s visit to the Chicago Bears, it will be a two-man crew for the second consecutive game. With Bennett out of Monday night’s loss to the Lions, Rodgers played 33 snaps and Kendricks 29.

Rodgers caught one pass for 5 yards, while Kendricks had two for 32 yards. Bennett’s totals through seven games weren’t impressive — 24 catches for 233 yards without a touchdown and a team-high four dropped passes — but he played a significant role as a blocker in the run game. Neither Rodgers nor Bennett has shown himself to be Bennett’s equal as a blocker.

There’s one tight end on the practice squad, Emanuel Byrd. He was with the Packers for part of training camp but didn’t rejoin them until last week. Bennett’s roster spot remains open, so perhaps Byrd will get promoted. They also will have another roster spot when right tackle Bryan Bulaga inevitably goes on injured reserve after his season-ending knee injury.

But it’s also possible the Packers will just go with Rodgers and Kendricks for another week.

“We have two guys in that room that they’re veteran guys, they’re very experienced, they’re versatile guys as well,” Packers offensive coordinator Edgar Bennett said. “So we think the men in that room can certainly get the job done.”

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The Green Bay Packers have cut tight end Martellus Bennett with the failure to disclose a medical condition designation, the team announced Wednesday.

By cutting Bennett with that designation, it sets up the Packers’ case for a grievance to reclaim the $4.2 million in remaining prorated signing bonus money.

Bennett is now subject to waivers. All 31 other teams have until 4 p.m. ET Thursday to submit a claim on him. If he does not get claimed, he becomes a free agent and can sign with any team at any time after that.

Bennett’s release comes hours after Packers coach Mike McCarthy ruled him out for this week because of a shoulder injury. McCarthy said last week that Bennett was still being evaluated by doctors.

The veteran tight end hasn’t played since he announced during the Packers’ bye week that he was “pretty sure” this would be his last NFL season. When Bennett returned from the bye, he offered only a one-word explanation for what led him to that decision: “Life,” he said.

It’s unclear exactly how Bennett got hurt. He took part in the first practice after the Packers’ bye week but hasn’t been on the field since then.

The Packers have only two other tight ends on their roster: Lance Kendricks and Richard Rodgers. Without Bennett on Monday night against the Lions, Kendricks had two catches for 32 yards and Rodgers one catch for 5 yards.

The Packers signed Bennett to a three-year, $21 million contract as a free agent in March. They gave him a $6.3 million signing bonus. If Bennett retires, the Packers would likely go after the remaining two-thirds of his signing bonus. If they do, Bennett would have to return $4.2 million. He also would leave up to $12.95 million of additional income on the table.

The Packers already had ruled out two other players this week: right tackle Bryan Bulaga and safety Morgan Burnett. Bulaga tore the ACL in his right knee against the Lions and will miss the rest of the season, while Burnett suffered a groin injury and won’t play this week.

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Bryan Bulaga sustained a season-ending knee injury in Monday night’s loss to the Detroit Lions, ensuring the Green Bay Packers’ preferred offensive line will have played together for less than a full game all year.

Bulaga suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament, ESPN confirmed on Tuesday. NFL Network was first to report that the 28-year-old, eighth-year veteran tore his ACL. That’s what the Packers feared immediately after the game, when coach Mike McCarthy said the team’s medical staff “seemed very concerned about it.”

Speaking Tuesday, McCarthy called it “tough” to hear about the injury.

“Bad news on Bryan Bulaga,” the coach said. “It’s very unfortunate. He will be lost for the season with his knee injury. He’s had a stretch of bad luck this year. It started with the ankle injury there in training camp. I feel bad for him. I thought he had clearly come off his best season last year.”

Monday’s game was just the second time all season that the Packers had all five of their top offensive linemen together. The first time was in Week 6 at Minnesota, but it lasted for only 15 plays before left guard Lane Taylor sustained an ankle injury. The group played together for 42 snaps against the Lions before Bulaga had to be helped off the field and carted to the locker room.

The Packers (4-4) have started seven different offensive line combinations in eight games this season.

Bulaga missed the entire 2013 season with a torn ACL in his left knee. This injury is believed to be to his right knee.

Earlier this year, Bulaga suffered a sprained right ankle in training camp and missed the first two games of the regular season. He returned for Week 3 but couldn’t make it through that game, either. He returned for Week 5.

Left tackle David Bakhtiari missed four games because of a hamstring injury. Only center Corey Linsley and right guard Jahri Evans have played in every game.

Even Bulaga’s replacement on Monday night, first-year pro Justin McCray, got hurt against the Lions. He rolled an ankle on the final play of the game — a 1-yard touchdown run by Jamaal Williams on an untimed down after a defensive penalty with no time on the clock extended the game.

Last week, the Packers used one of their two injured reserve/designated to return spots on backup tackle Jason Spriggs, who injured his hamstring on a special teams play in Week 1. They’re saving the other for quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who could return from his broken collarbone no earlier than Week 15. Spriggs, however, is not eligible to play until after Sunday’s game at Chicago. Another tackle, Kyle Murphy, is on injured reserve after undergoing foot surgery and will not play again this season.

Also Tuesday, safety Morgan Burnett was ruled out of Sunday’s game at Chicago because of the groin injury he suffered last night against the Lions.

“I don’t have a timeline for you,” McCarthy said. “But he will not be available this week against Chicago.”


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There’s quarterback Aaron Rodgers plus receiver Jordy Nelson and right tackle Bryan Bulaga on offense. There’s safety Morgan Burnett and linebacker Clay Matthews on defense, plus kicker Mason Crosby.

Look around the Green Bay Packers’ locker room, and those are the only six players who remain from the franchise’s last Super Bowl team.

All of them no doubt yearn for a second Super Bowl, but two of them have to know their time is running shorter than the others. It isn’t Crosby or Rodgers, even though they’re the oldest among those players, at age 33. Kickers and quarterbacks can play until 40 — or beyond.

It isn’t Bulaga or Burnett; they’re both only 28.

It’s Matthews, 31, and Nelson, 32.

Both have contracts that expire after next season, and both play positions predicated on speed and athleticism, two things that can decline quickly. Both no doubt took it hard when Rodgers went on injured reserve last month because of his broken collarbone, knowing deep down that another year might pass without a return trip to the big game, even if the competitors in them won’t admit it.

“Is it going to be tough sledding this year?” Matthews said in an interview this past week. “Absolutely, but hopefully we can weather the storm until Aaron gets back. I don’t know. You just hope you get hot at the right time, and we’ve done that before.”

“I don’t know if it’s dwindling,” Matthews said of his chance to get another Super Bowl title. “But if you have the nucleus we have — championship teams usually have a great defense and a star quarterback. We’ve got the star quarterback, and we’ve shown flashes on defense. We’re a couple of plays away. … We ran into Atlanta last year in the NFC title game, and that was a buzz saw. I don’t know if we’re losing opportunities. Those opportunities are there. It’s just a matter of capitalizing. Unfortunately, we haven’t.”

Here’s a look at how Nelson and Matthews view their chances to get back to the Super Bowl:

Clay Matthews

Matthews was 24 years old and in his second NFL season when the Packers won Super Bowl XLV. A year earlier, he was a first-round pick and became the first Packers player since 1978 to make the Pro Bowl as a rookie. In the Super Bowl season of 2010, he was the runner-up to Pittsburgh’s Troy Polamalu for the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year award.

The son of Clay Matthews Jr. and the nephew of Bruce Matthews, each of whom played 19 seasons in the NFL, Matthews surely figured that was just the beginning.

“Well, I think you’re a little naïve in thinking that, but especially following up the next year going 15-1, you’re like, ‘We’ve got something cooking here,’” said Matthews, who made one of the defining plays of Super Bowl XLV when he forced a fumble of Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall in the fourth quarter.

“We win that whole thing, and you’re going, ‘That’s pretty cool.’ Then ’11 comes along, and you’re 15-1, and you’re thinking, ‘We’re going to do this again,’ but you lose [in the playoffs] and you’re like, ‘OK, let’s refocus,’” Matthews said.

“In 2012, we got a second shot at San Francisco after playing them in Week 1, but we ran into a little bit of a buzz saw with Colin Kaepernick. Then, in 2013, Aaron gets hurt with the first [broken] collarbone, but we still get in [the playoffs] and lost at home, but I had just re-broken my thumb [and did not play]. In 2014, you’re right there again in Seattle [losing the NFC title game in overtime], those type of losses, and so on and so on.”

Matthews is in the fourth season of a five-year, $66 million contract extension. The Packers’ career sack leader — a mark he set earlier this year — hasn’t had a double-digit sack season since 2014. He has battled injuries but said before this season that if he can stay healthy for 16 games, he knows he can be as productive as ever. He has played 82 percent of the defensive snaps so far this season but has only 2.5 sacks.

“I’ll say this — and Clay may get mad that I say this about him — but Clay Matthews appreciates and participates with so much more energy in the practice environment,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said in an interview this past week. “I see that over and over in this league that older players practice so much more and harder and are more giving of themselves to young players. The way Clay goes about his business today is night and day different than it was six years ago.”

Next season, Matthews would make $11.4 million if he’s on the roster. He is looking beyond that.

“Check the genealogy,” he said, offering a reminder of how long his dad and uncle played. “I don’t know how long I’m going to play. But I feel like I’m very real with myself from where I felt like I was going to be drafted to what I feel like I can accomplish, and I still feel really good. I feel like I can contribute a lot. I don’t think I’ve fallen off or lost a step. I’d love to be here for many more years. You accomplish what you can, and we’ll see where we’re at after next year.”

Jordy Nelson

Nelson was 25 and in his third NFL season when the Packers won the Super Bowl. It wasn’t until the next season that he became a 1,000-yard receiver and Rodgers’ No. 1 target.

Now, Nelson has three more reasons to get back to a Super Bowl: his kids. His son Royal was a year old the first time. Since then, Nelson and his wife, Emily, have adopted another son, Brooks, 2, and an infant daughter, Adda.

“Once you taste it, you want it again,” Nelson said in an interview this past week. “You want to experience it. Things have changed in my life that I want my kids to experience. My oldest turned a year the week of the Super Bowl. There’s pictures and stuff, but he doesn’t know what was going on. Now he’d be able to enjoy it.”

Nelson recalled the moments immediately after the 31-25 victory being a blur.

“I remember being on the field, and I was getting ushered off to go do the media, but I was like, ‘I need to stay here for a second,’” he said. “So I stopped and stood there with my wife and my son and took it all in. I have absolutely no idea what went on in the locker room after the game because I had to go to the media room. An hour later, I finally got in the locker room, and everyone was gone.

“I think you’d appreciate it more [the second time].”

Nelson has one more season left on his contract — he’s due to make $10.25 million — but the Packers are going to have to pay top money to another receiver, Davante Adams, who is scheduled to be a free agent after this season. Either way, Nelson wants to keep playing.

“I plan on playing two to four more years, so I think I’ve got two to four more chances,” he said. “I mean, that’s how we feel. Even if you look back to a few years ago, when Aaron broke his collarbone, once he came back and got into the playoffs, we felt like we had a chance. It’s the same thing now. You’ve just got to get in. You never know what could happen.”

From McCarthy’s vantage point, Nelson is doing more than ever to try to make it happen.

“Jordy speaks up in meetings all the time now,” McCarthy said. “Jordy speaks up on the sideline during the games — I’ve got to keep him off the officials sometimes — but he would’ve never done that eight years ago.”

That’s why Nelson uses the word “when,” rather than “if,” when he talks about the Packers getting back to the Super Bowl.

“I don’t want to say it will be sweeter because I think it downplays the one you got,” Nelson said. “But knowing where you’re at in your career, there’s certain things you would do to enjoy it. If it’s the week of the Super Bowl, with the family would be more enjoyable for me because all the kids would be there postgame and enjoying that.

“And honestly, all the perks that come with winning the Super Bowl, if it’s the TV shows or different things — we had kind of an awkward one because we had the lockout, and we didn’t really see each other until August. It will all be different.”

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One total was 181. Another was seven. The first was fantastic, the second not nearly enough.

The numbers represent the Packers’ rushing yards in Sunday’s loss to the Saints, and how many times Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams, Randall Cobb and Martellus Bennett got their hands on the football.

When it came to reviewing the offensive performance, that discrepancy was something Head Coach Mike McCarthy was focused on. The big first number should have led to a much bigger second number, but it didn’t, and the Packers must capitalize on that moving forward with new quarterback

Brett Hundley.

“When you call a football game, you have to get the ball to your playmakers, and we didn’t get that done yesterday,” McCarthy said on Monday just after dismissing his team for the bye week. “Jordy Nelson, Davante, Marty, Randall Cobb. Those guys have to touch the ball.

“How many times have we run for 180-plus yards? Not very often. You’re supposed to win those games. We have a lot to build off of.”

The building will continue with Hundley, who McCarthy remains confident will play better, particularly if rookie running back Aaron Jones can repeat his 17-carry, 131-yard rushing performance.

McCarthy laid out numerous factors behind Hundley’s struggles in going 12-of-25 for just 83 yards through the air.

Two failed third-and-ones in the first half, both coming on the heels of the defense’s two interceptions, contributed to Hundley only getting 50 snaps by game’s end. His “time clock and timing” were not sharp in the drop-back passing game. It was better off play-action, but McCarthy said there were a couple of protection breakdowns on those plays. Finding out on Friday that right tackle Bryan Bulaga would play but left guard Lane Taylor would not, the exact opposite of what the coaches planned for early in the week, led to some last-minute adjustments as well.

Those are the issues McCarthy is focused on, not the swirling suggestions or criticisms that the game plan was supposedly too conservative and didn’t allow Hundley the opportunity to make enough plays.

That said, there will be a process to Hundley’s in-game development.

“Was the game plan as big as it was the week before (with Aaron Rodgers)? Absolutely not,” McCarthy said. “And frankly, it’s going to get smaller. We need to be more creative.

“I feel the same way today as I did going into the week. I know this young man. I believe in him. That’s the direction we’re going.”

There’s plenty to clean up elsewhere, too. Four of the Packers’ eight accepted penalties occurred on special teams.

Also, because of players going in and out of the lineup during the game due to injuries, the Packers continue to have substitution problems on defense.

Once it cost them an early timeout, and another time only 10 defenders were on the field for Mark Ingram’s way-too-easy 12-yard TD run on third-and-1.

“It’s been excessive,” McCarthy said of the changing sub patterns and communication miscues. “Clearly not good enough.”

The loss of all-everything safety Morgan Burnett due to a hamstring injury the last two games hasn’t helped. If the defense has a glue guy from a communication and leadership standpoint, it’s Burnett, and defensive coordinator Dom Capers suggested his absence could be hindering the playmaking abilities of 2016 Pro Bowl safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in the back end as well.

At the same time, the play of tackling leader Blake Martinez and interception leader Damarious Randall, with three interceptions in the last three games, has been elevated. Rookie punter Justin Vogel had another field-flipping 60-yard boot.

The inconsistency in all phases can be maddening, but the most disheartening thing to McCarthy is seeing his team sharpen up some poor practice habits without getting the results in the game.

“We haven’t been very good the last two weeks. I told them before the Minnesota game they’re not practicing the right way, and this thing is going to bite us and we have to get on top of it,” McCarthy said. “We had a very good week of practice. We actually had our best week of practice. It happens. The Saints played a very good second half. We didn’t. So we’re not going to overreact to it, but we’re going to get better from it.

“We have to improve. You have to win your home games. To have opportunities and not take advantage of them, that second half of football, we have to be much, much better than that.”

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When the Green Bay Packers signed Jahri Evans this offseason, they thought they were getting a dependable veteran to fill the void left by right guard T.J. Lang in free agency.

They never imagined he’d be one of only two Packers offensive linemen who hasn’t had to miss time because of an injury. How bad would things be if Evans and center Corey Linsey had been unable to play every snap, as they’ve done through six games this season?

Evans, 34 and in his 12th NFL season, has been a stabilizing force in an unstable situation. The Packers have started a different offensive line combination in each of their six games this season, and they haven’t had one group play together for even 90 plays this season.

According to ESPN Stats & Information, no five-man unit for the Packers has played more than 89 snaps together this season. That group, from left tackle to right tackle, was Kyle Murphy, Lane Taylor Linsley, Evans and Justin McCray. Murphy went on injured reserve on Sept. 26 and subsequently underwent foot surgery.

There are a total of 44 O-line units league-wide with more snaps than the Packers’ most-used group.

“Jahri, he’s been excellent for us. He’s been a good fit from Day 1,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “[He] brings a lot of experience, a lot of professionalism, excellent football player, so as you look at the offensive line, the cohesiveness of those guys playing together, it’s so important. The moving parts we’ve had due to injury, I think Jahri and Corey being steadfast in there, there’s a lot of stable production.”

This week, three of the Packers’ five offensive line starters are on the injury report. One of them, Taylor, hasn’t practiced yet this week because of an ankle injury. The other two, left tackle David Bakhtiari (hamstring) and right tackle Bryan Bulaga (concussion), have been limited practice participants.

And yet there’s Evans, cast off by the Saints after last season, ready to show his old team that he still can play when New Orleans comes to Lambeau Field on Sunday.

“I guess I do definitely want to show them that I can still play, [that] I’m still an elite player,” Evans said.

“Obviously there’s people in that building that don’t think I’m the same player that I was, and that’s fine. It comes with age. I feel like I’m still an elite player in this game and I prepare like that. I try to show that in every play. It’s going to be fun.”

Evans’ experience could be especially valuable now without quarterback Aaron Rodgers in the Packers huddle. With Brett Hundley to make his first NFL start on Sunday, he’ll have a right guard with 175 regular-season starts to his credit.

“Jahri’s a stud, love Jahri,” Saints quarterback Drew Brees told reporters this week. “Every guy in this locker room does. He was such a big part of our success in the past 11 years. Wish him nothing but the best. It will be funny to see him in a Green Bay uniform after being here his whole career. But he’s the best.”

The Packers will need the line to play even better for Hundley. Through six games, Rodgers and Hundley have been pressured on 32 percent of their dropbacks, sixth-highest in the NFL, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Hundley was pressured on 45 percent of his dropbacks last Sunday against the Vikings after Rodgers broke his collarbone.

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It’s upsetting to Mike McCarthy he has lost his MVP quarterback possibly for the season, but his displeasure on Monday was directed just as much at the rest of his team.

The update on Aaron Rodgers is he’ll have surgery soon on his broken right collarbone and begin a recovery process that has no timeline as of yet.

Regardless of when that information becomes available, though, McCarthy is focused on getting the awful taste of Sunday’s loss to the Vikings out of his mouth.

“It was a poor performance as a football team, one I’m frustrated by,” McCarthy said. “When the mental mistakes are what they were yesterday, it’s something I take very personal from the chair of the head coach.”

McCarthy didn’t go into detail on the errors, but his tone and words suggested they were numerous.

Communication and assignment mistakes were made repeatedly against Minnesota’s pass rush, leading to four sacks and more than a dozen quarterback hits. Three starting offensive linemen departed with injuries at different times, but the lineup shuffling wasn’t handled as well as it had been in other games.

Defensively, the Packers had their highest number of missed tackles in a game this season, according to defensive coordinator Dom Capers. Multiple penalties on third down also extended drives.

Monday was focused on going over the extensive corrections in the film room and then working ahead a little on the next opponent, the Saints, who have won three straight after an 0-2 start. Normally that initial film study occurs on Wednesday, but in the wake of Rodgers’ injury and the team’s rough day without him, McCarthy and his coaches are turning the page as quickly as possible.

“It’s important to shift gears,” McCarthy said. “We’re looking forward to playing again after our performance yesterday.

“My challenge is to win game No. 5. This is what we do as coaches. This is what we’re committed to as a football team. It’s unfortunate for all these guys to be hurt right now, and it’s unfortunate for Aaron to get hurt like that, but this is where we are. All the energy needs to be poured into beating the Saints.”

That energy is also fully behind Brett Hundley as the new starting quarterback, with Joe Callahan  as his backup. McCarthy made that unequivocally clear.

Having invested multiple years in both backup signal callers, McCarthy is calling upon himself, the QBs, and the entire offense to “turn it up” after producing a measly 118 yards on Sunday from the time Rodgers left the game until a late desperation drive.

“I have to do a better job. I have to get Brett into a flow. More importantly, we need to get our offense into a flow,” McCarthy said. “We didn’t run the ball very well, pass protection was a negative, we didn’t handle basic blitzes they came with. We have to play cleaner football.”

It would help to get some continuity up front, but McCarthy had no injury updates on offensive linemen Lane Taylor , Bryan Bulaga or David Bakhtiari , saying their prospects for Sunday will be sorted out later in the week. The defense remains banged-up as well, with three top defensive backs in Morgan Burnett , Kevin King and Davon Housemissing the Minnesota game.

As for the injury to Rodgers, McCarthy said he watched the video of Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr’s outside-the-pocket takedown and termed it “totally unnecessary.”

“I didn’t like the hit,” he said. “He’s clearly expecting to get hit, and to pin him to the ground like that, I felt it was an illegal act.

“To sit here and lose any of your players to something like that, it doesn’t feel good.”

But a performance like Sunday’s almost feels worse to a head coach, whose resolve and determination were unmistakable one day later.

“I’m focused on getting back to playing Green Bay Packer football,” McCarthy said. “Yesterday was not anything we needed to be. We’re not going to play like that anymore.”

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Ty Montgomery said he took some hits in Thursday’s practice on his broken ribs — which were protected by a flak jacket — for the first time since the injury last month.

The Packers running back said he made it through practice without any trouble and felt “fine.”

“It made me feel very comfortable about today and the workload today,” Montgomery said after practice. “I’ll see how I feel tomorrow.”

Ty Montgomery was in pads with significant protection visible on his broken ribs.

Montgomery was listed as a full participant in practice for the first time since he broke multiple ribs on the first series of the Sept. 28 game against the Chicago Bears. He practiced on a limited basis last week but did not play against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday because Montgomery said he was not cleared by the team’s medical staff.

If Montgomery is cleared to compete this Sunday at the Minnesota Vikings, he would have to play with the protective pad around his midsection, but he did not think it would be too cumbersome or problematic in any way.

“I played with one in high school,” Montgomery said. “It’s very normal. A flak jacket is pretty normal. It’s not in the way or anything.”

How Montgomery came out of Thursday’s practice would play a role in deciding whether he would play against the Vikings.

“This is an important practice,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “We talk about this practice every week. It’s our padded work, and a lot of our evaluation and projection for how we’re going to play the game will come out of this practice.”

In Montgomery’s place, rookie Aaron Jones rushed for 125 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries in the win at Dallas. Even if Montgomery is cleared, McCarthy could decide to use Jones as his No. 1 back against Minnesota.

Montgomery averaged just 3.3 yards per carry on 46 rushes before his rib injury. Jones, who didn’t play from scrimmage until the second quarter against the Bears in Week 4 after both Montgomery and Jamaal Williams (knee) were knocked out, has averaged 5.4 yards on 32 carries. Both have two rushing touchdowns.

It’s possible the Packers also could have both of their starting tackles on the field together for the first time this season. Left tackle David Bakhtiari hasn’t played since his Week 1 hamstring injury, and right tackle Bryan Bulaga missed three of the first four games because of an ankle injury. Both were listed as limited participants in Thursday’s practice.

“The biggest thing is to, when I go back out there to stay out there,” Bakhtiari said. “That’s the most important thing, and make sure that I add to the team and don’t hinder us at all. That’s the process we’re taking. We’ve been taking it day by day. The second it’s good enough, we’re going to give it a go.”

The Packers’ full injury report can be found here.

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Now we know why Jordy Nelson was not on the field for the last drive of Sunday’s comeback win in Dallas.

Nelson had a back injury.

He showed up on Wednesday’s injury report. But it didn’t keep the Green Bay Packers receiver off the practice field, and he doesn’t think it will be an issue Sunday at Minnesota.

Nelson did everything during the portion of practice that was open the media and was listed as a full participant on the post-practice report.

“I went through everything like normal [and] feel good,” Nelson said. “It’s nothing serious. Everything is good. Like I said, practicing all week and playing on Sunday.”

The NFL’s leader in touchdown catches (six) did not play after he landed awkwardly after failing to come down with a two-point conversion pass in the fourth quarter against the Cowboys. Nelson appeared to wince after he landed. He stood on the sideline with his helmet on during the last drive but never got back in the game.

Running back Ty Montgomery also was listed as a full participant in Wednesday’s practice — the first time he’s had designation since he broke multiple ribs in Week 4 against the Bears. However, the Packers’ only full-pads practice of the week comes on Thursday. If Montgomery makes it through that as a full participant, then perhaps he has a legitimate chance to return against the Vikings.

However, after the way rookie Aaron Jones played against the Cowboys (19 carries for 125 yards and a touchdown), coach Mike McCarthy might have to think about going with Jones as his No. 1 running back regardless of Montgomery’s status.

“I’m not sure really what Ty’s availability is going to be No. 1,” McCarthy said before Wednesday’s practice. “No. 2 we got to get Aaron ready. We’ve got to get Jamaal [Williams] ready.”

The only players who did not practice Wednesday all were on defense: outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks (back), safety Morgan Burnett (hamstring), cornerback Kevin King (concussion) and inside linebacker Joe Thomas (ankle).

Right tackle Bryan Bulaga was limited after he made his return to the lineup against the Cowboys. So was left tackle David Bakhtiari, who shas not played since the regular-season opener because of a hamstring injury.

The full injury report can be found here.