Veteran DB Charles Woodson was suited up and going through some drills at practice on Wednesday, his first true participation in practice since breaking his collarbone back in Week 7. Mike McCarthy said on Monday that Woodson might be able to return to game action next week.
Also returning to practice was CB Sam Shields (ankle), who has been out since Week 6, and WR Donald Driver (thumb), who missed last week’s game.
Not practicing on Wednesday in the portion of the workout open to media were LB Clay Matthews, RB James Starks, OL T.J. Lang, WR Jordy Nelson, DE Mike Neal and DE C.J. Wilson.
Matthews has missed the last three games with a hamstring injury, while Wilson missed last week’s game with a knee injury. Lang (ankle) and Nelson (hamstring) were injured in last Sunday’s game vs. Minnesota. Starks and Neal are new to the injury list.
Newly signed RB Ryan Grant was at practice and appeared to be a full participant.
McCarthy will address the media after practice, at the top of the hour.
Tags: charles woodson, clay matthews, injuries, james starks, jordy nelson
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“This has been similar in the fact that we lost some key guys in 2010 and we lost some key guys already this year,” Rodgers said of the season-ending injuries, which were to starters Ryan Grant, Mark Tauscher, Morgan Burnett, Nick Barnett, Brad Jones and Jermichael Finley in the first five weeks of 2010. The Packers have lost Desmond Bishop and D.J. Smith for the season this year, and now Cedric Benson and Charles Woodson for extended periods.
“We started a little slow, lost a couple of overtimes games early that year, then we started getting on a roll before the bye week. We’d like to do the same thing this season.”
After the 3-3 start, including consecutive OT losses to Washington and Miami, the Packers won three straight to get to their bye week at 6-3. This year, the Packers actually fell to 2-3 with the loss at Indianapolis but have won two straight to get back above .500 with two more games left before the bye.
The other thing Rodgers noted was what he called “a little-talked-about-fact,” that the 2010 World Series champion San Francisco Giants have returned to the Fall Classic this year. Karma in the making?
“We’re pulling for the Giants to get a win and hopefully that means we’re heading down to New Orleans,” Rodgers said.
Tags: aaron rodgers, injuries, san francisco giants, world series
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Wednesday’s practice was not in pads, but based on the players who participated in the portion of the workout open to the media, it appears the Packers are getting healthier on the injury front.
Defensive linemen B.J. Raji and Ryan Pickett were both practicing, as was inside linebacker Robert Francois. All three of them have been battling injuries stemming from the last two preseason contests.
Also, CB Davon House and LB Jamari Lattimore were doing some drills, but they weren’t as active in practice as the others. That could mean they’re close to returning but not enough to be active for a game yet. S Sean Richardson and RB James Starks continued to sit out.
The first injury report of the week will be released after practice, when Mike McCarthy addresses the media around 1:40 p.m. CT.
Tags: b.j. raji, davon house, injuries, ryan pickett
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Cedric Benson dressed in shells and was a limited participant in Monday’s practice, but he won’t play in Thursday’s preseason home opener against the Browns, and that’s causing Mike McCarthy to continue feeling the pinch at running back.
“We’re down to three running backs, Alex Green being one of them,” McCarthy told reporters following a practice that was cut short by 20 minutes on Monday after fullback/running back John Kuhn sustained a sprained ankle. “We’ll see where John is. I’d like to have four (running backs) going into the game.”
Benson spent the majority of practice watching Kuhn, Green and rookie Marc Tyler share reps. James Starks (toe) and Brandon Saine (hamstring) stood off to the side. Green, of course, is less than a year removed from knee reconstruction.
Injuries have created a desperate situation at running back for the Packers, and Benson was signed on Sunday to help ease the crunch. He’s rushed for more than a thousand yards in each of the last three seasons, but he’s more of a runner than he is a receiver and a pass-blocker, which has caused some to question Benson as a fit in the Packers offense.
“We have an idea of the kind of player we’re bringing in. We’ll teach him like we teach the rest of the guys,” McCarthy said. “Cedric Benson is a good fit for us. He’s been a very productive running back.”
McCarthy cited the Packers’ transition to a one-back type of offense as being an especially good fit for Benson.
Injuries are causing practice targets difficult for McCarthy to reach. It would seem to be his greatest concern as training camp heads into its latter stages.
“We’re not where we wanted to be. Today’s practice was supposed to be (two hours, 21 minutes long). When John went down, I didn’t think it was worth the risk to try to get through the last period,” McCarthy said.
Benson will be a welcomed addition to the backfield after he completes the initiation processes and is cleared for full participation.
In other injury news, tackle Marshall Newhouse and wide receiver Tori Gurley returned to practice on Monday. Gurley turned in one of the highlight plays of practice when he bowled over cornerback Dion Turner following a reception.
Defensive lineman Ryan Pickett and safety M.D. Jennings were excused from practice due to personal reasons. Jermichael Finley continues to be sidelined by a quad injury.
For more on new RB Cedric Benson, who spoke with reporters in the locker room on Monday, click here.
Tags: cedric benson, injuries, john kuhn, mike mccarthy
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