Jared Goff’s injured left knee has improved to the point he is expected to play in the Detroit Lions‘ season finale Sunday against the Green Bay Packers.
Lions coach Dan Campbell said Goff moved around well enough in practice this week that he is “probable” for the game.
“He got back in a rhythm Wednesday,” Campbell said. “I thought yesterday he looked even better and we expect him to continue to improve today so I think we’ll see Goff this weekend.”
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Goff has not played since suffering what he termed a bone bruise in his knee in the Lions’ Dec. 19 win over the Arizona Cardinals.
He finished that game, but missed a loss to the Atlanta Falcons the next week while on the reserve/COVID-19 list and did not practice before last week’s loss to the Seattle Seahawks, when Tim Boyle made his third career start.
Goff was listed as “questionable” on Friday’s injury report. His likely return means both the Lions (2-13-1) and Packers (13-3) will have their starting quarterbacks in the lineup for at least some of Sunday’s game.
Packers coach Matt LaFleur said this week he plans to play MVP candidate Aaron Rodgers and his starters Sunday even though Green Bay clinched the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs with last week’s win over the Minnesota Vikings.
“All our guys that are playing, which is the majority of our team, they have to go in with the mindset that they’re going to play the entire game,” LaFleur said Wednesday, via Yahoo Sports. “As far as where that goes, and if and when we decide to pull some guys, it’s going to be totally a feel-like thing than having a concrete plan. But the message to our team is, and this is how we truly feel, is we’re going to Detroit to win a football game.”
LaFleur said the Packers did a comprehensive study on how playoff teams with nothing to play for in their season finale handled their starters, and what that meant for those teams’ playoff success. Rodgers, top receiver Davante Adams and others also expressed a desire to play.
The Packers have a bye next week and will play all playoff games at home before the Super Bowl.
Campbell said he is approaching the week as if the Packers will play their starters the entire game.
“Look, I know what that’s like,” he said. “We would go through that where I just came from (with the New Orleans Saints). There was a couple of different scenarios as how much do you play your guys? Do you not? Is there a rust factor? Is there a rhythm factor? Is there all those things? They’ll play that by ear, but as far as we’re concerned, we got to be ready to play their very best and that’s how we’ve been preparing.”
Campbell said all three players the Lions placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list this week, starting tackles Taylor Decker and Penei Sewell and outside linebacker Austin Bryant, are dealing with COVID symptoms.
Decker, Sewell and Bryant are eligible to be activated Saturday, but their status will not be determined until the weekend. Some combination of Matt Nelson, Will Holden and practice squad tackle Dan Skipper will play if Decker and Sewell cannot go.
Campbell said Goff’s availability does not depend on the status of his tackles.
“His status is all about his ability to play, not the other guys around him,” Campbell said.
Fullback Jason Cabinda was listed as out on Friday’s injury report. Offensive lineman Jonah Jackson, tight end Brock Wright, defensive lineman Michael Brockers, wide receiver Josh Reynolds and linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin are questionable.