Packers unsure if WR Christian Watson will be available vs. Cowboys

Green Bay Packers coach Matt LaFleur admitted he knew Christian Watson likely wasn’t going to play on Sunday as early as Friday, and he’s currently unsure if the Packers will get back Watson for this Sunday’s playoff showdown with the Dallas Cowboys.

Watson, who has now missed five straight games with a hamstring injury, practiced in a limited capacity on Wednesday and Thursday and appeared trending toward playing on Sunday vs. the Chicago Bears, but the Packers held him out of practice Friday and made him inactive for the season finale.

“He just wasn’t ready to play. I know it’s been extremely frustrating for him. I had a pretty good indication that it was probably trending that way, a little gamesmanship on my part. Sorry to lie to everybody,” LaFleur said post-game Sunday.

When asked Friday, LaFleur said the Packers were resting Watson to give him the best chance to play, even though the team likely knew he probably wasn’t going to play after two days of limited practice.

In terms of Sunday, LaFleur left the door open to Watson returning against the Cowboys but said it’s going to come down to how the player feels over the course of the week.

“It’s one of those things, I know it’s really frustrating. We’ll see where he’s at this week. I definitely wouldn’t rule him out, but I really don’t know. A lot of it comes down to the ‘feel’ of it for him. That’s certainly something we’re going to have to tackle this offseason.”

Watson injured his hamstring during the Packers’ win over the Kansas City Chiefs on Dec. 3. It marked the second hamstring injury for Watson this season, and he ended up missing eight total games due to hamstring issues (three to start the season, five to end the season) in 2023.

Without Watson on Sunday, Packers quarterback Jordan Love completed 27 of 32 passes for 316 yards and two touchdown passes. He connected 15 times on 18 attempts to Jayden Reed, Bo Melton and Dontayvion Wicks, creating 235 passing yards and both scores.

As a rookie in 2022, Watson caught three touchdown passes and ignited an incredible stretch of production during the Packers’ overtime win over the Cowboys at Lambeau Field.

Watson finished the 2023 regular season catching 28 passes for 422 yards and five touchdowns. He had touchdown catches in three straight games against the Los Angeles Chargers, Detroit Lions and Kansas City Chiefs before going down with an injury.

The Packers play the Cowboys at 3:30 p.m. CT on Sunday. Like a typical week, the team will provide the first injury report of the wildcard round on Wednesday, with a final injury report arriving Friday.

Story originally appeared on Packers Wire