The Green Bay Packers could be thin at running back when they suit up to face the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday night.
Running back Jamaal Williams was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list, where he will join fellow running back AJ Dillon, the Packers announced Tuesday. The reserve/COVID-19 list denotes players who have either tested positive for COVID-19 or have been in close contact with a known positive.
Both players will miss Thursday’s game, and the fate of the Packers’ running game could rest on starter Aaron Jones returning from a calf injury during a short week.
Will Packers RB Aaron Jones play this week?
Jones, who ranks No. 5 in the NFL in rushing yards per game with 77.8, has missed the Packers’ past two games with a calf injury.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Packers are unsure if Jones will return for Thursday’s game.
In the two games Jones has missed, the Packers are 1-1 and have managed to average more than 100 rushing yards at around 4 yards per rush, but none of the running backs responsible for that production will be on the field Thursday.
Who are Tyler Ervin and Dexter Williams?
Here is how the Packers’ depth chart at running back currently looks for Thursday night’s game:
Aaron Jones (unclear, calf injury)
Jamaal Williams (out, COVID-19 list)
A.J. Dillon (out, COVID-19 list)
Dexter Williams (currently on practice squad)
Combined career rushing yards for the duo at the bottom: 79.
Ervin was a fourth-round draft pick for the Houston Texans in 2016. He has spent much of his playing time on special teams and as a receiver. As a runner, he has 68 rushing yards across five seasons. Williams was a sixth-round pick out of Notre Dame last season, and has been active in only five career games.
One of the two players will have to step up Thursday if Jones is out, or the Packers will have to get very, very creative.
Niners banged up too
Amazingly, the Packers should still be only the second-most banged-up team playing Thursday. The top honor goes to the Niners, who are having a truly cursed season.
Here is a very sad list to look at:
A partial list of #49ers players on injured reserve or likely headed there soon:
QB Jimmy Garoppolo
RB Raheem Mostert
RB Jeff Wilson Jr.
WR Jalen Hurd
TE George Kittle
TE Jordan Reed
DL Nick Bosa
DL Dee Ford
DL Solomon Thomas
CB Richard Sherman
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) November 2, 2020
That’s multiple All-Pros, the team’s starting quarterback, its starting running back, plus multiple other starters.
With everyone healthy, Packers-Niners seemed set to deliver one of the better Thursday night games of the year. Now, it could be just an exercise of who is healthier.
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