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But after what Nelson did in Sunday’s NFC Championship Game — when he returned just two weeks after he’d suffered broken ribs to catch six passes for 67 yards and a touchdown, all while he winced in pain — that credibility went up another notch in his teammates’ eyes.
A day after quarterback Aaron Rodgers actually choked up as he tried to say how proud he was of Nelson, there was more praise for Nelson’s effort as his teammates cleaned out their lockers on Monday, a day after the 44-21 loss.
“That’s Jordy Nelson, man; he’s a fighter,” defensive back Micah Hyde said. “Obviously, saw him all last season, not being able to play. You could see how much that hurt him, not being able to participate with his teammates, with his brothers out there. He was going to be out there regardless.”
Nelson played with a vest similar to a quarterback’s flak jacket (although he declined after the game to say exactly what it was other than it was “padding”) to protect his ribs, which were broken in the wild-card win over the New York Giants on Jan. 8. For most of last week, Nelson appeared to be a long shot to play after missing the divisional-round win over the Dallas Cowboys. But when Nelson did more than expected in practice last Thursday, the Packers became convinced he could play, which came as no surprise to his teammates.
Playing with broken ribs, an injury sustained just two weeks earlier, Jordy Nelson had a touchdown catch in Sunday’s loss in Atlanta. Tom Pennington/Getty Images
“Everybody in this locker room knew he was going,” Hyde said. “That’s just the type of person he is, the type of player he is. He’s going to give his all for this football team. He’s definitely not the only one who would have [done] that. There’s a lot of guys in the locker room that put team first. I’m thankful that I got to play with him for the last four years.”
Nelson played 49 of the 68 offensive snaps against the Falcons. Rodgers went to Nelson on his two first dropbacks of the game, and they connected for 27 and