Packers' Nelson questionable vs Jaguars
- Associated Press
- October 26, 2012 - 10:08 PM
GREEN BAY, Wis. - Now that the Green Bay Packers have won back-to-back games, coach Mike McCarthy would hate to see the momentum of their first winning streak this season disrupted.
But McCarthy acknowledged Friday a break from playing football would be welcomed by a team that has endured one injury after another less than two months into the season.
"I think everybody agrees we're kind of at that spot you're happy our bye comes when it does," said McCarthy, pointing to the open date on the schedule in two weeks.
In a week when they learned star players Charles Woodson and Greg Jennings are sidelined indefinitely, the Packers will be without at least three more starters Sunday. The team ruled out fullback John Kuhn (hamstring), along with linebacker Nick Perry (knee) and cornerback Sam Shields (ankle), for the game against Jacksonville at Lambeau Field. Perry and Shields also missed Green Bay's last game.
Fellow starter Jordy Nelson, who has been the team's top receiver in Jennings' absence, is questionable to play. Nelson suffered a hamstring injury in practice Wednesday and was held out the last two days.
"It's important for us to win this football game and, God willing, hopefully we'll be healthy," McCarthy said.
McCarthy said after practice Friday the plan is put Nelson through some on-field testing prior to the game Sunday before a final decision is made on his status.
The Packers (4-3) have played the last three games without Jennings after he aggravated what was classified as a groin injury Sept. 30.
Jennings said Thursday he would undergo surgery next week for an abdominal tear and is hopeful about playing again this season. Woodson, the team's veteran defensive back, sustained a broken collarbone toward the end of Green Bay's win at St. Louis last Sunday. He is expected to be out six weeks.
Green Bay's injury-depleted defense may have nose tackle B.J. Raji on the field Sunday. Raji didn't practice Friday but is probable after missing the last two games with an ankle injury.
"The plan coming off Monday was to practice him on Thursday in pads (and) give him Friday to recover," McCarthy said. "Everything looks good. So if nothing changes here in the next 48 hours, I feel very confident with B.J."
Defensive coordinator Dom Capers sounded more optimistic about having Raji back as the anchor of the defensive line.
"I don't know that he's back totally, but he was healthy enough to practice yesterday," Capers said Friday. "Hopefully he's ready to go. I think he's going to be available. So we'll see how he does in the game, and that will determine probably how many reps he plays."
Capers has been forced to shuffle his starting lineup as well as the personnel in the sub packages in recent weeks as the injuries have hit at all of the position groups.
Brad Jones had to go in as a first-time starter at inside linebacker in the last game after D.J. Smith suffered a season-ending knee injury. Smith was a replacement starter when the season opened for Desmond Bishop, who also is on injured reserve with a hamstring injury.
McCarthy is hoping Shields and Perry, the team's first-round draft pick this year, can get back on the field next week.
"I'll always welcome these guys back," Capers said. "It seems like lately we've been having more of them depart than come back."
The Packers' injury report this week is loaded with a season-high 13 players.
Nine of them are on offense, though the majority, including quarterback Aaron Rodgers (calf) and tight end Jermichael Finley (shoulder), are probable to play Sunday.
Coping with and trying to overcome adversity is nothing new for many of those with the Packers this season. Green Bay closed the 2010 season with six straight wins, including four in the playoffs, to become league champion despite having 16 players on injured reserve.
"I think anytime you have an experience, specifically the challenge as big as 2010 was and everybody knows what the numbers were, it's something you can point to, something you can draw from," McCarthy said. "I know, personally, you don't get as emotional or maybe as stressed about it as much as probably the first time you go through a difficult situation. I think that's human nature. But I've always viewed injuries from a coaching standpoint as part of the game. The struggle with injuries is more on a personal level."
Notes: The Packers recently signed fifth-year long snapper Brett Goode to a three-year contract extension, but reports of the deal didn't transpire until Friday. A happy Goode, who was in the final year of his contract, confirmed the signing after practice. "It's quite an honor to be able to play as long as I have and to get the opportunity to be extended," Goode said. "It means a lot. It gives you the confidence to keep doing what you're doing and keep improving." He has played every game since the Packers signed him just days before the start of the 2008 season to replace an injured J.J. Jansen as the long snapper. Green Bay has rewarded its core special-teams trio of kicker Mason Crosby, punter Tim Masthay and Goode with long-term contracts the last two years. . Green Bay has a spot open on its 53-man roster. But McCarthy said the team won't fill it before Sunday with any of the three players who have been on the physically unable to perform list since the season started: TE Andrew Quarless, LB Frank Zombo and OT Derek Sherrod. Quarless and Zombo started practicing last week.
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