NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported the initial diagnosis on Nelson's knee injury was a torn ACL, via a source informed of the situation. Rapoport added Monday that it was a clean ACL tear, which could make rehab a bit easier.
An underappreciated difference-maker from 2011 to 2013, Nelson finally gained league-wide recognition as a first-team All Pro after posting career highs in receptions (98) and yards (1,519) in 2014.
Just how productive has Nelson been? Aaron Rodgers' passer rating on throws intended for his go-to receiver has been 150.2, 130.3, 111.6 and 128.2 over the past four seasons, per Pro Football Focus. Their chemistry is perhaps unparalleled in today's NFL.
"It's difficult to lose a guy like that in a meaningless game," Rodgers said after Sunday's game.
On one hand, Green Bay is uniquely suited to withstand the loss of a premier talent at the position. The unofficial MVP of offseason practices, promising second-year wideout Davante Adams will now become a full-time player as Nelson's replacement. When the Packers go to three-wide receiver sets, Adams and Cobb will be joined by athletic 2014 seventh-round pick Jeff Janis or rookie training-camp sensation Ty Montgomery.
On the other hand, coach Mike McCarthy believed his offense had the potential to become the greatest in NFL history with a healthy Nelson. Along with the Seahawks, the Packers were widely viewed as an NFL superpower and one of the top contenders to knock off the Super Bowl champion Patriots.
As long as Rodgers is running McCarthy's quarterback-driven attack, the Packers should remain a top-10 offense and a playoff contender. The shame is that there was legitimate potential to break NFL records while laying waste to the NFC with Rodgers and Nelson clicking on all cylinders.