Is Christian Watson playing this week? Latest injury updates ahead of NFC Wild Card Game

Will Christian Watson return in time for the playoffs?
Green Bay Packers
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Christian Watson enjoyed a breakout performance against the Dallas Cowboys last season, but it's unclear whether he will play in the Green Bay Packers' wild-card matchup.

The Cowboys' defense couldn't handle Watson's speed in last year's matchup, with the second-round pick catching four passes for 107 yards and three touchdowns. His return would give the offense a significant boost entering the playoffs.

Even if Watson is available for the Cowboys game, he likely won't play a full-time role. The Packers will have to rely on their other pass catchers, but getting Watson back, even in a limited role, would help the offense find success against an excellent Cowboys defense.

Here are the latest Watson injury updates ahead of the NFC Wild Card Round.

Christian Watson injury status for Packers NFC Wild Card game against Cowboys

Christian Watson's status for Sunday's wild-card game against the Cowboys is up in the air. Watson has missed the past five games with a hamstring injury and admitted he won't be at full strength even if he does play this week.

"We'll see on Christian," coach Matt LaFleur said, according to "A lot of it is going to be how he feels and where we're at with him."

LaFleur noted that he will be a game-time decision. Watson practiced all week but was limited. Last week, he was limited on Wednesday and Thursday but didn't practice on Friday, so the fact he put three practices together this week is notable.

Even if Watson does play, he likely won't be at 100 percent.

"I don't think I'm going to be 100 percent, to be honest. When I was coming back earlier in the season, I think it was more around like 90, 95 percent," said Watson. "I've got to be able to play at the level that I know is going to benefit the team."

Christian Watson injury history

Watson has battled injuries in his first two seasons with the Packers. In his rookie year, Watson missed three games in the space of five weeks due to hamstring issues. In his first game back, he suffered a concussion that ruled him out of the game, but he returned the following week.

Recurring hamstring issues have limited Watson in 2023. He missed the opening three games of the regular season and returned on a pitch count in Week 4 as he was eased back into a full-time role.

Watson suffered another hamstring injury in the Week 13 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs and hasn't played since, missing the previous five games.

Who would replace Christian Watson in the lineup?

Watson missed half of Green Bay's regular-season games, so we have a good indication of how the team will respond if he can't play on Sunday.

This season, the Packers' top three receivers are Jayden Reed, Romeo Doubs, and Dontayvion Wicks. They lead the way in receptions, receiving yards, and snaps among wide receivers.

Another player to watch is Bo Melton. The former seventh-round pick had only played two snaps before Week 15, but he has become a go-to target for Jordan Love down the stretch. Melton has played 137 snaps over the past four weeks, catching 16 passes for 218 yards and a touchdown. He has 4.3 speed and can't stop making positive plays in the passing game.

If Luke Musgrave is healthier and able to take on a more significant role, the Packers could go with more two-TE sets, getting Musgrave and Tucker Kraft on the field together. It would strengthen the run game while giving Love two reliable receivers to throw to.

Packers injury report

  • CB Jaire Alexander (Shoulder/Ankle) - Questionable
  • RB AJ Dillon (Thumb/Neck) - Doubtful
  • WR Christian Watson (Hamstring) - Questionable

Cowboys injury report

  • QB Cooper Rush (Illness) - Questionable

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