Three players returned to the field on Tuesday from injuries — S Will Blackmon (knee), G/C Jason Spitz (calf) and TE Tom Crabtree (wrist). Blackmon was at safety with the No. 2 defense, paired with Charlie Peprah, and he was the first man up on both kickoff return and punt return. Spitz worked mostly as the No. 2 center. Crabtree was practicing with a brace after finding out on Monday that his injury is a wrist sprain and bone bruise in his hand. He told reporters it’s just a matter of him playing through the pain.
Sitting out the morning workout were T Chad Clifton, T Mark Tauscher and DE Justin Harrell. Clifton and Tauscher were getting their usual morning rest with an evening practice later. Head Coach Mike McCarthy said Harrell’s back tightened up on him, but he would be evaluated to see if he could practice on Tuesday night.
Also, one-a-day participants WR Brett Swain (knee) and S Derrick Martin (ankle) did not practice.
With Clifton and Tauscher out, Bryan Bulaga was at LT and Breno Giacomini was at RT on the No. 1 offensive line. T.J. Lang rotated in at RT with the first group as well.
Still on the injury list and sitting out are RB Ryan Grant (concussion) — who could be cleared to practice as soon as tonight, McCarthy said — RB Kregg Lumpkin (hamstring), LB Alex Joseph (quad), LB Clay Matthews (hamstring), LB Nick Barnett (knee), LB Cyril Obiozor (calf), G/C Evan Dietrich-Smith (neck), plus the three PUP players — S Atari Bigby (ankle), CB Al Harris (knee) and RB James Starks (hamstring).
In a run-on FG scenario, K Mason Crosby was 2-for-2 from 40 yards out.
In the daily ball-security period, a new wrinkle was thrown in. Punt returners were catching punts shot from the Jugs machine with two or three coverage players up tight surrounding them. It was a similar scenario to how rookie Sam Shields fumbled a punt on Saturday night in the preseason opener. None of the returners, Shields included, fumbled even one attempt on Tuesday.
QB Aaron Rodgers twice drew the defense offsides with hard counts during team periods. The first time, he took advantage of the “free play” to hit WR James Jones behind the defense for a big gain.
Crabtree made a nice catch, despite the brace on his wrist, on a pass over the middle from QB Matt Flynn with LB Brady Poppinga right in front of him in coverage.
CB Tramon Williams had a couple of impressive pass break-ups, one on a slant to WR Shawn Gore and another when he jumped in front of TE Spencer Havner and nearly intercepted the pass.
LB A.J. Hawk had an eye-catching INT on a short dump-off pass when he reached back and pinned the ball with one hand against his shoulder pad and then secured the catch.
During red zone work, Rodgers hit back-to-back TD passes to Jones in the back left corner and to TE Jermichael Finley over the middle. Later in the period, he also hit WR Greg Jennings with a bullet right to the back line of the end zone, and Jennings made a tough catch, snagging the low throw and stutter-stepping his feet to get both in bounds.
The players will return to the practice field at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.
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