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Jennings hints he'll sit out game with Colts

The SportsXchange

The Packers will get accustomed to traveling south with their next three games on the road, all in the central part of the country.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers, however, sees the needle on the compass pointing the opposite way with regard to Green Bay's previously sputtering offense.

"Heading in the right direction, definitely," Rodgers said Wednesday.

Whether Pro Bowl receiver Greg Jennings will be along for the figurative ride as the Packers look to keep going up after an encouraging 28-27 win over the New Orleans Saints last weekend is a different story.

Jennings strongly hinted after sitting out the team's first practice of the week Wednesday that he won't be playing Sunday, when Green Bay (2-2) plays at the Indianapolis Colts (1-2).

"We've got to be smart now," Jennings stressed.

The team's top wideout had a medical setback in Sunday's game against the Saints. He aggravated a groin injury in the second quarter and didn't return to the field.

Jennings sustained the injury in the final two minutes of the season-opening loss to San Francisco on Sept. 9, missed the next game and then admittedly played in pain in the Week 3 loss at Seattle.

"I'm frustrated, extremely frustrated, honestly, trying to not let it completely overtake me and become overwhelming," Jennings said. "Seven years playing this game at this level, I've never experienced what I've experienced this year. It's new territory for me, but I'm getting through it.

"I knew it was going to be an up-and-down type of situation, one that I was going to have to push through. Obviously, the game on Sunday kind of grabbed at me, and it gradually got worse and worse, and so (we) shut it down."

Two days after leaving open the possibility the team would hold Jennings out for a week, if not longer, head coach Mike McCarthy was noncommittal Wednesday about his playmaker's status for Sunday's game.

The medical staff put Jennings through tests Wednesday.

"Obviously, Greg Jennings is a Pro Bowl player that means a lot to us," McCarthy said. "But, this is the NFL season. This is the way it goes. Sometimes, people get hurt, and that's why you need 61 guys -- the 53-man roster and those eight practice-squad guys, is so important.

"We feel like we have a good plan. We're planning to go with him or without him. That's the way you do it every week."

Jennings believes staying out of further harm's way in the short term, particularly with the regular season only a quarter old, would be the sensible plan for himself and the club.

"That's the mindset -- however long it takes so I won't have to sit and answer these same questions again," he said. "We don't know what the timetable is. All I know is we're going to take it one day at a time, and hopefully, it gets better before Sunday.

"But, the odds of that happening, they're odd," he added with a knowing laugh.

Jennings had a 9-yard touchdown catch in the first minute of the second quarter Sunday, only to be relegated to the familiar sideline a short time later after reinjuring the groin.

"Now, it's just a matter of being smart," Jennings said. "I can't keep having that up-and-down 'I'm in one game, I'm out the next' (or) 'Not sure one game, good the next.' I can't keep doing that to myself or to the team. So, with that being said, I'm just going to wait until I get 100 percent back healthy, and then we'll see (number) 85 back out there."

Jennings has 12 catches for 78 yards and the one touchdown, his least production through the first four games of the season since he missed Weeks 1 and 2 in 2007 because of an ankle injury.

His fellow receivers picked up the slack against the Saints.

Jordy Nelson, James Jones and Randall Cobb combined for 20 catches, 215 yards and three touchdowns. Tight end Jermichael Finley and halfback Cedric Benson also were involved with four receptions apiece as Rodgers passed for a season-best 319 yards and four touchdowns.

Green Bay's offense had just an aggregate four touchdowns in the first three games.

Jones has responded to Jennings' injury woes by getting off to the best start in his six-year career. Jones has 16 catches for 191 yards and a team-high three touchdowns, brushing aside being the subject of trade rumors in the offseason and an on-field target for criticism from Rodgers earlier this season.

Jones had a starter-like role Sunday, playing 62 of the Packers' 70 snaps. Nelson, who starts opposite Jennings, was on the field for 63 plays.

"We're all about making the most of our opportunities," Jones said. "Aaron has a lot of weapons. If you ask the receivers, everybody is open on every play. He's always going to get that. When the ball goes your way, just make a play."
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