Sitton, Crosby back at practice Thursday

Posted by Mike Spofford on December 27, 2012 – 12:38 pm

G Josh Sitton (concussion) and K Mason Crosby (illness), who both missed Wednesday’s practice, were back on the practice field on Thursday, though it appeared in the portion open to the media that Sitton was very limited in his activities.

The Packers were practicing in pads, their last padded practice of the regular season and their first in a few weeks. WR Randall Cobb (ankle/knee) was not practicing, nor was CB Davon House (shoulder). RB James Starks (knee) also remained out.


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James Starks could be back for playoffs

Posted by Mike Spofford on December 20, 2012 – 2:13 pm

Mike McCarthy said on Thursday that the plan is to get RB James Starks back from his knee injury for the playoffs, and Starks told reporters that all is going well with his rehab.

“I’m doing well right now, ahead of schedule,” Starks said. “All the swelling and everything is gone, so that’s a positive. I just have to keep getting it stronger so I can cut how I want to and not be slowed down in any way.”

Starks has been out since sustaining a bone bruise on his knee late in the victory over Minnesota three weeks ago. The Packers did not place him on injured reserve with the hope that he could return for the playoffs, and that now appears a distinct possibility.

“That’s what the medical staff is telling me,” McCarthy said.

The knee problem is the second injury this season for Starks, who had a bad bout with turf toe in the preseason that kept him inactive for the first five games of the regular season. Prior to the knee injury, Starks had rushed for a combined 236 yards over the four-game stretch that culminated in the Minnesota game on Dec. 2.


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Sitton not at practice on Friday

Posted by Mike Spofford on December 14, 2012 – 12:01 pm

RG Josh Sitton was not at practice on Friday during the portion of the workout open to reporters. Sitton has not been on the Packers’ injury list this week. An update from Mike McCarthy will be coming after practice.

Other than that, the Packers’ participation at practice remained unchanged from Thursday. Neither WR Jordy Nelson (hamstring), RB James Starks (knee), nor DE C.J. Wilson (knee) has returned to the field yet.


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Charles Woodson back at practice Wednesday; more on injuries

Posted by Mike Spofford on December 5, 2012 – 12:28 pm

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.


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Burnett, Starks, Lattimore awarded game balls

Posted by Mike Spofford on December 3, 2012 – 2:21 pm

Packers S Morgan Burnett, RB James Starks and LB Jamari Lattimore earned game balls for their performance vs. the Minnesota Vikings in Week 13

S Morgan Burnett’s two interceptions on Sunday in the 23-14 victory over the Vikings has earned him the defensive game ball from the Packers’ coaching staff.

The coaches award game balls weekly to members of all three phases — offense, defense and special teams — based on their performances.

Burnett’s two interceptions were his first two of the season, and they both came at crucial times. The first came early in the third quarter, in the end zone with the Vikings at Green Bay’s 8-yard line and threatening to add to their 14-10 lead. The second came later in the third quarter after the Packers had taken a 20-14 lead but the Vikings were driving again, having reached the Green Bay 25.

On offense, James Starks received a game ball for his 15-carry, 66-yard outing, which included a 22-yard TD run for the go-ahead score. Starks hadn’t scored a rushing TD since Week 1 of last season, and the rushing TD was the Packers’ first this season since Week 5 in Indianapolis.

On special teams, LB Jamari Lattimore was the game-ball recipient. Lattimore wasn’t credited with any coverage tackles based on the press box statistics, but the coaches often see things on film that don’t make the stat report and reward a player accordingly.


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Benson officially out for season

Posted by Mike Spofford on November 29, 2012 – 3:52 pm

Mike McCarthy announced on Thursday that RB Cedric Benson had surgery on his injured foot Wednesday and would remain on injured reserve for the remainder of the season.

When Benson initially injured the foot in Week 5 in Indianapolis, he was placed on IR with the designation to return. But that return now won’t happen. Benson said as recently as two weeks ago that he was going to be able to avoid surgery, but in the end, it was necessary.

That leaves the Packers with three healthy running backs in James Starks, Alex Green and John Kuhn.

“I feel we have a good rotation,” McCarthy said. “It’s really just finding the things they all do well, and playing to that and having them in sync with the run-blocking unit. I thought the way we started last game, and Arizona was a good game. If we can find that rhythm, it will definitely benefit us.”

Last week against the Giants, the aforementioned trio plus Randall Cobb combined for 40 rushing yards on 10 carries in the first half, a solid 4.0 average. But trailing 31-10 at halftime, the Packers were forced to get away from the run. Against Arizona before the bye, Starks and Green combined for 114 yards on 28 carries (4.1 avg.).

“We just need to pick up our end now,” Kuhn said. “I don’t think there’s just one in particular key. I think everybody just needs to detail their job – the line, the running backs, the wide receivers. The running game isn’t just the running back position. Every position falls into it.”


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Nelson game-time decision, Kuhn out, McMillian questionable

Posted by Mike Spofford on November 2, 2012 – 3:46 pm

Mike McCarthy said on Friday that for the second straight week WR Jordy Nelson would be a game-time decision with his hamstring injury. Last week, Nelson tested the hamstring on Sunday morning but was declared inactive. This week, he did not practice at all but rehabbed only.

“Jordy’s work today went well,” McCarthy said. “They pushed him further than they have all week. We’ll see how he is in the morning, and we’ll give him the opportunity to take it to the game.”

Meanwhile, FB John Kuhn also has a hamstring injury but has already been ruled out for the second straight game. Also ruled out are WR Greg Jennings, who had abdominal surgery on Thursday, LB Nick Perry (knee), CB Sam Shields (ankle), CB Charles Woodson (collarbone) and DL Jerel Worthy (concussion).

The addition to the injury report is rookie S Jerron McMillian, who sat out practice on Friday due to tightness in his back. He is listed as questionable.

“I don’t really have a whole lot of information, but I’m hopeful that he can go,” McCarthy said.

DE Mike Neal, who left last week’s game with an ankle injury, practiced on a limited basis on Friday after going harder in the padded practice Thursday and is listed as probable for the game. With Worthy’s absence, that still leaves the Packers with five healthy defensive linemen in Neal, Ryan Pickett, C.J. Wilson, Mike Daniels and B.J. Raji (ankle), who is also listed as probable.

Other comments from McCarthy on Friday:

–He’s “encouraged” by the work of RB James Starks in practice this week, saying he looks like his old self. “He looks like he’s ready to go. He might have some opportunities.” McCarthy indicated Alex Green is still the No. 1 back.

–The week of preparation wasn’t razor sharp, but McCarthy is confident the players sense the importance of getting one more win before the bye week.

“I think the energy has been outstanding,” McCarthy said. “I think they’ve really cranked it up, the sense of urgency to win this football game. It hasn’t been as clean as I would like. There’s been a segment in all three practices that has not been quite where it needs to be, but for the most part it’s been a good week.”


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Raji practicing Thursday; Nelson, Starks not

Posted by Mike Spofford on October 25, 2012 – 12:12 pm

NT B.J. Raji (ankle) was practicing on Thursday during the portion of the workout open to the media. The practice was in full pads. Raji has missed the last two games due to injury.

WR Jordy Nelson (hamstring) and RB James Starks, however, were not. Mike McCarthy said on Wednesday that Nelson’s hamstring tightened up on him during practice. Starks is not listed on the injury report, so there won’t be any information until McCarthy’s post-practice update.

Also, WR Donald Driver (neck) returned to practice after sitting out on Wednesday.

Update: After practice, McCarthy said Starks missed the workout due to an illness. Nelson will not practice on Friday, either, and he will test his hamstring either Saturday or Sunday to0 see if he can play. Raji “looked good,” and “looked like his old self,” according to McCarthy, who listed Raji as a limited participant in practice.

Driver was a full participant in practice, while FB John Kuhn (hamstring) sat out for the second straight day.


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TE Williams tweaked his hamstring; Starks ready, Jennings not sure

Posted by Mike Spofford on October 11, 2012 – 4:33 pm

TE D.J. Williams missed practice on Thursday due to a hamstring injury he sustained at the end of practice on Wednesday, Mike McCarthy said. His status for Sunday’s game at this point is up in the air. The same goes for TE Jermichael Finley (shoulder), and if both players can’t play, the Packers would be down to just two active tight ends in Tom Crabtree and Ryan Taylor.

“He’s never had a hamstring injury before, so this is new territory for him,” McCarthy said of Williams. “We’ll see where he is tomorrow.”

Williams termed the injury a “little tweak” that’s low in his hamstring, not deep and high in the thigh. He caught two passes for 20 yards in last week’s game after Finley went down, and McCarthy said he was potentially a big part of the offensive plan.

“I felt like I was starting to move along,” Williams said. “It was the same thing in the preseason and I had that little foot nagging injury. But you have to stay positive with a good attitude, so that’s what I’m doing and it’ll all work out.”

McCarthy reiterated on Thursday that he could take decisions on veterans Finley, WR Greg Jennings (groin) and DL B.J. Raji (ankle) up to game time, even if none of them practice this week.

Jennings spoke with reporters and said he gives himself “a chance” to play, but he didn’t sound overly optimistic. He said he doesn’t expect to do any real testing of the injury this week, so it could come down to whether the Packers test him on Sunday in Houston or just let him continue to rest.

“Physically I feel good, (but) physically I felt good before,” said Jennings, who has injured his groin twice this season already. “Only time will tell.”

Meanwhile, RB James Starks has yet to play this season, primarily due to a turf toe injury from the preseason opener, but he’s now off the injury report and expecting to be active on gameday for the first time with RB Cedric Benson on injured reserve.

RB Alex Green has been named the starter by McCarthy, who also said the offense will go with the “hot hand.” That could mean an opening for Starks, who says he’s ready and healthy.

“I’m good. I’ve been running, cutting,” he said. “I’ve done everything on (the toe), pushed off of it. The only thing is I haven’t been tackled by a different team. That’s about it.”

Starks, of course, was a playoff hero in 2010 in helping the Packers string together four straight wins, including the Super Bowl.

“That’s in the past to me,” he said. “That’s how I feel. I haven’t done anything yet. I’m planning on trying to do something this year.

“I’ve got to make the most out of every opportunity I receive, and I’m sure I will.”


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Jennings back at practice

Posted by Mike Spofford on September 18, 2012 – 4:50 pm

WR Greg Jennings, who missed last Thursday’s game with a groin injury, was back at practice on Tuesday in the portion of the workout open to the media. The Packers practiced in pads.

DE C.J. Wilson (groin) and RB James Starks (turf toe) also were practicing. The team periods (11-on-11), however, were not open to reporters so how much Jennings, Wilson and Starks participated in those isn’t known.

LBs Terrell Manning (concussion) and Jamari Lattimore (ankle) were not practicing on Tuesday.

The players will get Wednesday off and then begin their usual three-day practice regimen to prepare for the next game on Thursday. The first official injury report of the week will be released then.


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