[Packers] Packers getting healthier in the backfield
By ARNIE STAPLETON
AP Sports Writer
GREEN BAY, Wis. - The Green Bay Packers' beleaguered backfield got healthier Wednesday with James Jackson's addition and Tony Fisher's objection.
Jackson joined the team a week after being released by Cleveland, and Fisher contradicted reports that he suffered a shoulder or neck "stinger" injury in the Packers' win at Houston on Sunday night. He said it never happened.
Coach Mike Sherman, offensive coordinator Tom Rossley and quarterback Brett Favre had all said Fisher was hurt but played through the injury after Ahman Green (ribs), Nick Luchey (shoulder) and Walt Williams (ankle) joined Najeh Davenport (hamstring) on the sideline.
"If I did have a stinger, you all would have seen me running off the field," Fisher said. "And I didn't come running off the field."
Fisher said he was taken by surprise Monday when his mother called to ask how he was feeling.
"I was like, 'There's nothing wrong with my neck.' She was like, 'Yeah, it says on the Internet that you have a stinger or something like that.' I was like, 'There's nothing wrong with me,'" Fisher recounted.
Good thing for the Packers, too, because they're really hurting at running back.
Green, Luchey, Williams and Davenport all missed Wednesday's workout, where Fisher and Jackson shared the snaps.
The Packers listed Davenport as probable for Monday night's game against St. Louis and the other three as questionable. Sherman said the best news of the day was that Luchey's separated shoulder won't require surgery.
Davenport participated in the morning walk through as did Green, who sprained cartilage in his rib cage on his first carry against the Texans.
Green's availability against the Rams will depend on his pain threshold.
"Pain is certainly an issue, the ability to torque your body, you know, twist and turn as he does so violently when he carries the ball. So I would say pain would be the No. 1," Sherman said. "I don't think structurally there's anything (to prevent him from playing). When you hurt the cartilage in the rib, it's just pain. But that pain can be limiting, too, to your movement and ability to do certain things."
Green likely would have to tough it out minus any painkilling injections, too.
"Particularly because it's near the lungs, it's a fairly dangerous area to be messing around with stuff like that," Sherman said. "And it's hard to locate rib pain."
With all the injuries at running back, the Packers signed Jackson, a fourth-year player from the University of Miami who never earned much playing time in Cleveland, where he rushed just 12 times for 81 yards this season.
Jackson said he had a flight booked to Baltimore but changed it after hearing the Packers were interested.
Rossley said Jackson has his work cut out for him as he adjusts to the Packers' terminology, but Jackson said it's simple: "Here it's smash-mouth football. In Cleveland it was a lot of finesse stuff, but here I think it's a privilege. I got a chance to run behind these guys so I'll see what happens on Monday night if I have a chance to get in the game.
"I like running in between the tackles. Quickest way to the end zone. Definitely, the quickest way to the end zone."
Sherman was impressed by Jackson's work ethic, quick burst and intelligence.
"I like the fact that he has three kids and he likes to feed them. I look at that, that's important to me. But that means it's important to him. And so that played a part in it," Sherman said. "It seems like he's hungry for a job, he did a good job in our walk through. Everybody was kind of going through it like we normally do and he was exploding and wanting to show us what he had, even though he didn't have to do it, he did it, so that was impressive."
The Packers were forced to throw 50 times at Houston and need a more balanced offense against St. Louis, so they're going to have to rely more on their running game no matter who's healthy.
"It doesn't matter who's running the ball," right guard Marco Rivera said. "Half the time we don't even know who's back there anyway."