GREEN BAY — The question is no longer whether Greg Jennings will play Sunday at Indianapolis.
Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy took care of that on Thursday, ruling the two-time Pro Bowl wide receiver out with the groin injury that has nagged him all season.
"I had a conversation with Greg before practice, and we just talked through the history of his injury. And we felt like we were going around in a circle," McCarthy said. "We just felt, 'Why take this decision all the way to Sunday?'"
Jennings suffered the injury in the closing minutes of Sept. 9 opener against San Francisco, then missed the Sept. 13 victory over Chicago. He returned to play at Seattle on Sept. 24, then aggravated the injury last Sunday against New Orleans and had to come out of the game in the second quarter after his 9-yard touchdown catch.
"(I've) got to be smart now," said Jennings, who is in the last year of his contract and has 12 catches for 78 yards and one touchdown. "Honestly, that's where my frustration starts. (You want to) be a tough guy (but it's) not so much (about) being a tough guy — you just want to go out there and play. There's a difference between being smart with it and being kind of ignorant. ... I can't keep having that up and down — I'm in one game, out the next, not sure one game, good the next. I can't keep doing that to myself or the team. "
The game at Indianapolis kicks off a three-game road trip for the Packers, as they'll travel to undefeated Houston for a Sunday night game on Oct. 14 followed by an Oct. 20 date at St. Louis.
Offensively, the Packers have found themselves adjusting to life without Jennings a lot. Late last season, Jennings suffered a knee injury on Dec. 11 against Oakland, then missed the final three games against Kansas City, Chicago and Detroit before returning for the Packers' season-ending playoff loss to the New York Giants.
Jennings also missed two weeks of training camp when he suffered a concussion in the annual Family Night scrimmage. It was the third concussion of his career, according to team doctors.
"When Greg Jennings is on the field, we definitely have a chance to be a very good offense," McCarthy said. "I still think we can play a different way and play without Greg and still be very good. I'd always want my best players out there. That's why it's important to get him healthy and get him back to 100 percent."
It's possible these Jennings-less Packers are a glimpse into what the offense will look like in 2013. Some believe the Packers will let Jennings walk as an unrestricted free agent after the season because he'll command a contract that will average more than $10 million per season. With quarterback Aaron Rodgers, outside linebacker Clay Matthews and defensive tackle B.J. Raji needing extensions, there might not be enough money to go around.
While frustrated by his injury, Jennings said the contract isn't on his mind.
"Honestly, I'm not even focused on that," he said. "I really need to get back on the football field and be 100 percent. The contract, that's going to take care of itself. It's going to be what it's going to be. I can't predict the future. I couldn't predict this. It is what it is."