The Green Bay Packers are getting healthy on offense, though they may not be full strength just yet for Sunday’s NFC North showdown against the Minnesota Vikings.
Receiver Jordy Nelson, who had missed the last three games after injuring a hamstring early in the Dec. 2 game against Minnesota, was a full participant at Wednesday’s practice as the Packers began preparations for Sunday’s game at Minnesota. Receiver Randall Cobb, who was injured on a punt return last week, was limited at practice.
“You’d hope so,” coach Mike McCarthy said when asked if Nelson can return seamlessly after missing basically the last four games. “I don’t think anybody just goes back seamlessly. There’s always a difference between the real game and the practice environment. It’s always an adjustment coming back in and I think it’s important for us to be smart with Jordy. I look for him to make the transition as smooth as possible.”
Nelson missed the Oct. 28 game against Jacksonville with a hamstring injury. Because of hamstring and foot problems, he's missed four games and most of two others.
"It felt great against Arizona, then I had the foot problem," Nelson said. "I continued rehabbing through the bye week (on the hamstring), played in Detroit and New York and felt fine. It was something that just happened again and I continue to move forward. I don’t think it’s anything you can prevent. You just have to continue to work and also keep moving forward."
Cobb injured his knee in addition to his ankle on that third-quarter punt return against the Titans. McCarthy said Cobb was limited at Wednesday’s practice, will be limited again on Thursday and will go through some testing on Friday. His availability for the game will be determined on Saturday.
Guard Josh Sitton was held out of practice with a concussion but McCarthy is hopeful he’ll be cleared on Thursday.
On defense, cornerback Charles Woodson will miss his ninth consecutive game after breaking his collarbone at St. Louis on Oct. 21. Defensive end C.J. Wilson, a key factor in a run defense that will be tested by Adrian Peterson as he seeks the NFL single-season rushing record, returned on a limited basis after injuring a knee on the first play of the Nov. 25 game against the Giants.
“Clearly, based on the doctors’ recommendation,” McCarthy said of Woodson. “We had targeted the Minnesota game and was hopeful this was going to be the game. Charles, I think this is going to be his fourth week at practice. I know he’s disappointed. This is a game that he really would have liked to play but this is based on Dr. McKenzie’s recommendation.”
Packers injury report
Out: DB Charles Woodson (collarbone). Did not participate: K Mason Crosby (illness); G Josh Sitton (concussion); RB James Starks (knee). Limited: WR Randall Cobb (ankle/knee); C Evan Dietrich-Smith (knee); CB Davon House (shoulder/hip); C Jeff Saturday (neck/shoulder); DE C.J. Wilson (knee); DE Jerel Worthy (hamstring). Full: TE Tom Crabtree (hamstring); RB Alex Green (concussion); WR Jordy Nelson (hamstring).
Vikings injury report
Did not participate: DE Jared Allen (shoulder/illness); RB Adrian Peterson (abdomen); CB Antoine Winfield (knee/hand). Limited: DE Brian Robison (shoulder). Full: P Chris Kluwe (left knee); T Phil Loadholt (knee); CB Marcus Sherels (quad).
— The Packers will use the last of their padded practices on Thursday. In particular, it will be a big practice for Wilson. He is one of the team’s top run-stoppers and would be a major asset against Adrian Peterson on Sunday. “C.J. has been doing everything he can possibly do to get on the field,” McCarthy said. “He wants to play, but he’s going to have to go through this process and tomorrow individual drills and things like that will be important for him to see if he can transition to team periods.”
— McCarthy said he’d go forward with a three-back attack of Green, Ryan Grant and DuJuan Harris. Grant, who had a chance for a 100-yard game last week, “definitely” has earned more playing time, McCarthy said.
— Quarterback Aaron Rodgers called fullback John Kuhn “year in and year out the team’s unsung MVP” because he’s so solid in pass protection.
— If the Vikings win on Sunday, that will set up a playoff rematch at Lambeau Field next weekend. “That would mean that we won this game on Sunday so I’ll be a happy, happy camper,” Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said during his conference call. “I’ll be so happy, yeah.”
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