Packers RB Aaron Jones: ‘I feel like I’m close’ to returning from knee injury

Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones believes he’s close to returning from a knee injury, but the veteran playmaker knows he still has hurdles to clear before he’s back on the playing field.

Jones returned to practice in a limited capacity on both Thursday and Friday of this week.

“I feel like I’m close, it’s just getting up to that full speed. But I feel like I’m close,” Jones said Friday.

The Packers go to New York to play the Giants on Monday night.

Jones injured his MCL and needed to be carted off during the Packers’ win over the Los Angeles Chargers on Nov. 19. He’s now almost three weeks clear of the original injury, a ligament sprain that didn’t involve the ACL.

Jones said the next step is getting reps in team periods at practice, which he is hopeful will happen on Saturday.

“I’m feeling better, just being able to get back out there with my guys…just making that progress,” Jones said. “Hopefully I can come out tomorrow and get involved with some team (periods), that will be telling and helpful going forward.”

What benchmarks does Jones want to hit before he returns? He said he can play through any pain in the knee but stability in the joint is vital. As a running back, he must be able to put his foot in the ground, get to full speed quickly and take a hit from multiple angles.

Over seven injury-plagued games this season, Jones has rushed 66 times for 245 yards and two touchdowns and caught 19 passes for 169 yards and a third touchdown. He previously missed three games with a hamstring injury. Barring an incredible finish to the season, Jones will snap his current four-year streak with 1,000 or more total yards, but his playmaking from the running back position could be vital to the Packers down the stretch in the NFC playoff race.

In terms of his playing status for Monday night, the Packers will put out a final injury report with status designations on Saturday. Jones is likely to be questionable or even doubtful based on how Saturday’s practice goes.

Following Monday night, Jones and the Packers welcome the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to Lambeau Field for a Week 15 showdown in Green Bay.

Story originally appeared on Packers Wire