GREEN BAY, Wis. — As B.J. Raji limped off the field with an ankle injury after just one play in the Packers’ preseason finale last week, Green Bay’s 337-pound starting nose tackle tried to stay positive about it.
But with the Packers’ regular-season opener just six days away, Raji was not able to practice Monday and would not discuss his status for Sunday’s matchup against the San Francisco 49ers.
“I’m not going to get into that,” Raji said when asked if he is confident that he’ll be ready to play.
Raji, who hasn’t missed a game since his rookie season in 2009, was just happy the injury wasn’t worse.
“Typically when you have something that happens, like a play similar to that, when someone usually falls on your leg out of your view, it’s usually a worse injury than what it was,” Raji said. “I was just fortunate I was able to walk. It’s getting better. I’m happy about that.”
Once Raji got to the sideline, he was ruled out for the remainder of the game as a precaution without doing any further medical tests. Given that it was preseason, Raji would likely have only played one or two series anyway.
Had it been a regular season game, though, Raji may have been able to continue.
“I’d like to think that I could have played through it, but it wouldn’t have been my call at that point,” Raji said. “It would have been more up to the trainers. If it was a real game, they probably would have taken me in for some type of X-ray or something like that. I guess after they saw it, they just shut me down.”
Most of the healthy Packers’ starters played at least one series in the final preseason game, with the exception of veterans Donald Driver and Charles Woodson. Even the NFL’s Most Valuable Player, quarterback Aaron Rodgers, played two drives with the offense. That was part of the reason why Raji didn’t get upset that he was injured during a game that didn’t count in the standings.
“Negativity doesn’t usually work well in that type of situation,” Raji said. “You’re already not happy about what happened, but to dwell on it in a negative manner just doesn’t serve any purpose. I was just trying to focus on what’s positive about it.
“Like I thought, as the days went by, it would get better. Now I’ve still got some time before the game, so hopefully. We’ll see what happens.”
Green Bay will need Raji healthy to help slow down a 49ers running game that finished eighth in the NFL in total yards last season.