GREEN BAY — Packers CB Sam Shields hasn’t practiced yet this week due to a shoulder injury, but Head Coach Mike McCarthy is still holding out hope Shields might return to practice on Saturday. Even if he doesn’t, McCarthy said there’s still a chance Shields could play on Sunday in Carolina.
“Sam’s getting better. This will be a big day for him,” McCarthy said on Friday. “It’s how he comes out of here today, and we’ll see what happens tomorrow.”
Often McCarthy is reluctant to let a player play in a game if he misses the entire week of practice, but Shields is one of the veteran exceptions to that. Shields left last Sunday’s game in Denver in the first quarter and did not return.
“I would say I would not need him to participate tomorrow because we have history together,” McCarthy said. “But there’s hoops you have to jump through, and he has not done that yet. It’s clearly in the hands of the medical team right now.”
Elsewhere on the injury front, McCarthy said he didn’t believe the neck injury to rookie CB Quinten Rollins is serious. Also, everything seems fine with LB Clay Matthews and his bum ankle, while rookie WR Ty Montgomery (ankle) has a chance to come back this week as well.
“I was optimistic yesterday,” McCarthy said of Montgomery. “I watched him return kickoffs. He’s getting better.”
(Update: The official injury report was released on Friday afternoon, and Shields, Rollins and Montgomery are all listed as questionable. Matthews is probable.)
The Packers (6-1) and Panthers (7-0) are playing for the top spot in the NFC at the season’s midway point, but McCarthy has not addressed the potential playoff implications of Sunday’s result with the team. That’s never been part of his preparation for any game.
“Your players hear those things. I would definitely say they’re aware of it, but it doesn’t help us win Sunday,” McCarthy said. “There’s nothing that comes out of looking eight weeks down the road that’s going to help us win this game.”
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