Packers players expect Christian Watson, Aaron Jones to return Thursday against Lions

The Green Bay Packers haven't made an official announcement. But Packers players sound confident that running back Aaron Jones and wide receiver Christian Watson will return from injury Thursday night against the Detroit Lions. Just ask Watson.

"That's the plan," Watson told reporters when asked if he was going to play.

Jones didn't speak for himself. But wide receiver Romeo Doubs did.

"We’ll have 33 back," Doubs told reporters of Jones. Quarterback Jordan Love also insinuated that Jones would play without outright saying it, according to ESPN's Rob Demovsky.

Christian Watson expects to make his 2023 debut against the Lions. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
Christian Watson expects to make his 2023 debut against the Lions. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)

If so, the news on both fronts is more than welcome in Green Bay as the Packers face a key NFC North matchup against the 2-1 Lions. Jones, a former Pro Bowler who tallied 1,516 yards from scrimmage and seven touchdowns last season, has been sidelined since Week 1 with a hamstring injury. Watson was slotted in as Green Bay's No. 1 receiver after a breakout rookie campaign. He's yet to play this season while dealing with his own ailing hamstring.

The Packers are off to a 2-1 start despite their absences with Jordan Love in his first season as Green Bay's starter. The offense struggled Sunday with zero points through three quarters against the New Orleans Saints before rallying for an 18-17 win.

The offense was also missing starting left tackle David Bakhtiari and left guard Elgton Jenkins against New Orleans. No. 1 cornerback Jaire Alexander was also a scratch. There was no word Tuesday about their status for Thursday's game. But the return of Jones and Watson would be a good start alongside a first-year starter at quarterback previously playing without his top offensive weapons.