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Defensive line could be thin on Sunday

Posted by Mike Spofford on December 5, 2012 – 5:01 pm

With DE C.J. Wilson still out with a knee injury and DE Mike Neal added to the injury report on Wednesday with a shoulder injury, the Packers’ defensive line could be a bit thin come Sunday against the Lions.

Mike McCarthy said he didn’t have a lot of information on Neal’s shoulder, but he didn’t “feel real good about what the medical staff told” him about Neal. That would indicate Neal’s chances of playing this week are slim, and if Wilson remains out, that would leave the Packers with only four healthy defensive linemen — B.J. Raji, Ryan Pickett and rookies Jerel Worthy and Mike Daniels.

In other injury news, it sounds like rookie Don Barclay could get his first NFL start at right tackle in place of T.J. Lang, whose injured ankle is “not progressing the way he’d like,” according to McCarthy. Lang sat out practice on Wednesday.

WR Jordy Nelson also sat out practice, as did LB Clay Matthews. Both have hamstring injuries, and McCarthy said he didn’t know if either would be ready to play this week and didn’t get into specifics. “I’m about timelined out,” McCarthy said.

Veteran C Jeff Saturday was also added to the injury report with a foot injury. He was limited in practice, but McCarthy said he expects Saturday to be able to play against the Lions.

In summary, the injury list doesn’t seem to be getting any shorter for the Packers, but they’re so used to dealing with it by now that the typical response is a shrug of the shoulders.

“Self-pity is a waste of time, a waste of emotion,” McCarthy said. “I think it’s part of the National Football League. I don’t think we’ve created any secret formula how we go about it, we just stay focused on what’s in front of us, and you have to, especially these division games. They’re so important.”

The positive injury news came in the form of Charles Woodson’s return to practice from a broken collarbone. He was listed as limited on the injury report, the first time he has participated in practice since the injury, which occurred on Oct. 21 at St. Louis.

The Packers will practice in pads on Thursday, and McCarthy didn’t say whether Woodson would go in pads, which would be the next step to returning to game action.

“He’s getting close,” McCarthy said. “It’s a good start.”


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