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Green Bay Packers lose TE Robert Tonyan to torn ACL; RB/WR Kylin Hill also out for season, sources say

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GREEN BAY, Wis. — The Packers keep winning games and losing players. They did both again Thursday, when they beat the Arizona Cardinals yet lost tight end Robert Tonyan and running back/kick returner Kylin Hill.

Tonyan’s agent, Jack Bechta, tweeted Friday that his client suffered a clean tear of the ACL in his left knee, while sources told ESPN that Hill also suffered a season-ending knee injury.

Tonyan injured his knee at the end of a 33-yard reception late in the third quarter. It was one of the key plays on the drive that gave the Packers a 24-14 lead on the way to their 24-21 victory. He finished the game with three catches for 49 yards.

A former undrafted free agent, Tonyan ranks third on the Packers in receptions (18) and receiving yards (204) this season. Although he had only two touchdown catches through eight games, his 13 touchdowns since the start of the 2020 season rank second among all NFL tight ends in that span.

His injury sounded serious immediately after the game, when Packers coach Matt LaFleur become emotional when asked about Tonyan.

“I’m sick for Bobby,” LaFleur said. “He means so much to this team. It’s so cool, I just told him, to watch a guy when you first get here and see the amount of progress that he’s made as a player and the work that he puts in on a daily basis. It’s really cool when you see that progress and you see a guy reach their potential. And I still think there’s more out there for him. As far as whether that’s long term, I don’t know, but I am sick for him, I’m sick for us. My heart goes out to him.”

The Packers have four other tight ends on their roster: Marcedes Lewis, Josiah Deguara, Dominique Dafney and Tyler Davis. Dafney was activated off injured reserve Thursday and played against the Cardinals after missing five games because of a hip injury.

Hill, a rookie seventh-round pick, suffered his injury on the violent collision with Cardinals running back Jonathan Ward that saw both of them get carted off the field.

It’s two more in a long line of injuries that have hit the Packers, although they have won seven straight games since losing their season opener. The Packers (7-1) are just the third team in the Super Bowl era to win seven straight games in a season immediately following a 30-point loss. The 1994 49ers and 1976 Raiders both won 10 straight after such a loss and went on to win the Super Bowl.

The Packers played without seven preferred starters — four of them Pro Bowlers or All-Pros — on Thursday. Among the players sitting out were left tackle David Bakhtiari, center Josh Myers, and their top three wide receivers, Davante Adams, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Allen Lazard, on offense and outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith plus cornerbacks Jaire Alexander and Kevin King on defense.

It is unclear whether Alexander or Smith will be able to play again this season. Alexander opted to put off shoulder surgery in the hope that he could return before season’s end, and while that’s still the hope, it’s not a sure thing. Smith underwent back surgery after playing only 18 snaps in the season opener and looked like a long shot to return. However, he tweeted Friday that he was headed back to Green Bay after presumably rehabbing elsewhere and indicated he planned to play soon.

There’s also a chance that Bakhtiari could be cleared for the Nov. 7 game against the Kansas City Chiefs. He returned to practice last week for the first time since he tore his ACL in a Dec. 31 practice and could come off the physically unable to perform list at any point.

Valdes-Scantling was close to a return Thursday, but the Packers chose to give his hamstring another week after he missed the past five games. King (shoulder) was questionable for the Cardinals game, and Myers (knee) has at least two more games on injured reserve before he could return.

Adams and Lazard will need to clear COVID-19 protocols before they can play.



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Dallas Cowboys haven’t asked me to sit vs. New Orleans Saints

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FRISCO, Texas — Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott does not want to take a game off despite a bruised right knee.

“No one’s came to me and asked me to rest,” Elliott said Sunday as the Cowboys opened up preparation for Thursday’s game against the New Orleans Saints.

If they do, Elliott said he would listen.

“I’ve just got to go with what they believe is best for the team,” he said.

Elliott said he has been dealing with the injury since banging it in the Oct. 3 win against the Carolina Panthers.

A day after the Thanksgiving Day loss to the Las Vegas Raiders, coach Mike McCarthy expressed concern for Elliott’s health after Elliott had just 25 yards on nine carries. The running back has not topped 51 yards in his last four games, the lowest-output of his career.

“It’s that time of year,” McCarthy said. “Zeke’s running style is ferocious. He gives a pounding and he takes some hits. We need to evaluate that and this week we’ll see what the preparation looks like for him.”

A source told ESPN the Cowboys will consider providing Elliott some time off to heal, including the possibility of holding him out of Thursday’s game. The source does not believe placing Elliott on injured reserve is a consideration at this time. That would require him Elliott to miss at least three games.

The Cowboys have scaled back Elliott’s snaps in the last four games to help manage the injury. He has played 164 of 280 offensive snaps (58.5%) after playing in 379 of 451 snaps (84%) in the first seven games of the season.

Elliott has missed just one game in his career because of injury (calf strain last December vs. the San Francisco 49ers). He was held out of the season finales in 2016 and ’18 because the Cowboys’ playoff position was set, and he was suspended for six games in 2017.

“He’s the ultimate competitor,” right guard Zack Martin said. “We see it on a day in, day out basis and I think everyone is seeing it. He takes great pride in being there for his teammates and doing whatever he can in his power to help this team win. For me, he’s one of the top competitors I’ve been around, and he’s going to keep doing that.”

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Follow live: Lamar returns for Ravens in AFC North showdown vs. Browns

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Groin injury ends Randall Cobb’s most productive day since his return to Green Bay Packers

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GREEN BAY, Wis. — Randall Cobb‘s most productive day since his return to the Green Bay Packers this season ended at halftime of Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Rams.

Cobb was ruled out at the start of the second half because of a groin injury.

He set a season high for receiving yards in the first half with 95 on four catches, including a 7-yard touchdown that was his fifth score of the season. Previously on that drive, Cobb had a 43-yard reception to move the Packers into the red zone. It was not immediately clear when Cobb suffered the injury. He muffed a punt in the second quarter but stayed in the game.

The Packers traded for Cobb this past summer at the request of quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Cobb played for the Packers from 2011 to 2018. They let him go in free agency, and he spent one season each with the Cowboys and Texans.

The Packers finally had their full complement of receivers back with the return of Allen Lazard from a shoulder injury. It lasted for one half.

Cobb’s previous best game came in Week 4, when he caught six passes for 69 yards and two touchdowns.

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