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  • [Packers] Green not ruled out just yet

    By Todd McMahon
    News-Chronicle
    Green Bay Packers head coach Mike Sherman plans to keep the St. Louis Rams guessing about whether Pro Bowl halfback Ahman Green will play Monday night.

    Green didn't practice the entire week because of sprained rib cartilage that knocked him out early in the last game. Yet, the Packers are leaving Green listed as questionable on the injury report, meaning he has a 50 percent chance of playing.

    Sherman said after Saturday's practice that Green's status is "day to day" and indicated a final determination will be made on the day of the game at Lambeau Field.

    "I think there's always that opportunity that if he takes a direct shot (to the ribs area), it could be tough on him," Sherman said. "But, he's a pretty tough guy, and he can handle quite a few things."

    However, Sherman and the team's medical staff aren't sure to what extent Green would be able to withstand a hit because he was limited to working with only training bags off to the side Saturday.

    If Green is cleared to play Monday, he likely will have to wear a flak jacket for protection. Sherman, though, hinted that the team may play it safe and keep Green out, given that it will have a short turnaround before playing another key intraconference game Dec. 5 at NFC leader Philadelphia.

    When asked if Green is determined to play Monday, Sherman responded, "He's not going to do anything that would jeopardize the team, in relationship to his availability. ... He's very aware that if he suits up, he's going to play."

    Green wasn't available to speak to reporters after practice.

    If Green is held out Monday, Sherman acknowledged that Najeh Davenport, himself ailing, would be the first choice to start.

    "More than likely, that would be the case," Sherman said. "He's been our (top) backup. If he's ready to roll, then, more than likely, he would be the starter."

    Davenport declared himself ready to play Monday after practicing three straight days without doing further harm to his strained left hamstring. The injury kept Davenport out of the Packers' win at Houston last Sunday.

    The Packers have listed Davenport on the injury report as probable for Monday's game. Saying he's at "80, 85 percent" healthy, Davenport feels he's capable of assuming a heavy workload as possibly the team's featured back.

    "How many carries do I want? Twenty-five to 30," Davenport said. "How many will I be good for? Twenty-five to 30. How many will I get? That's something that's not up to me."

    Davenport has never started a game in his first two-plus years in the league. He did have a career-long run of 76 yards for a touchdown last season in the Packers' 34-24 loss at St. Louis, which held Green to a season-low 35 yards in 20 carries.

    The Packers have been careful this week not to let Davenport run at full speed with the sore hamstring. He missed three games earlier this season with a strained right hamstring, which has yet to completely heal.

    "I've got it to fourth gear. I don't want to run it into fifth gear. I don't want to put it at top, top speed yet because of the situation," Davenport said. "I'm going to leave that to a game-time situation. If we need it, I'll use it. But, right now, I'm comfortable in fourth gear."

    It's possible the Packers will go into the game Monday with Davenport, Tony Fisher and recently signed James Jackson as their available halfbacks.

    They downgraded Walter Williams from questionable to out because of a high ankle sprain. Williams was promoted from the practice squad last weekend to fill in for Davenport against Houston but suffered the injury in the second quarter.

    Jackson, a free agent formerly with Cleveland, was added Tuesday. Sherman gave Jackson high marks for learning the playbook in a short time and feels comfortable putting the fourth-year veteran on the field right away.

    "I don't think he's made a mental mistake all week," Sherman said.

    The Packers also are dealing with injury concerns at fullback.

    Backup Nick Luchey didn't practice the entire week and remains questionable for Monday with a separated left shoulder, sustained in the last game.

    Luchey tested the shoulder with a blocking sled Saturday, saying his status is "day to day." He will have to wear a shoulder harness if he's cleared to play.

    "We want to be smart with this thing," Luchey said. "It's going to come down to (Sherman's) decision. It's definitely going to be a game-time decision."

    The Packers worked practice-squad fullback Vonta Leach in Luchey's place during practice throughout the week and could promote the undrafted rookie to be William Henderson's understudy Monday.

    MORE INJURY NEWS
    Besides Williams, the Packers downgraded tight end David Martin from questionable to out for Monday because of a strained patella tendon in his left knee.

    Wide receiver Robert Ferguson was added to the injury report as probable. He aggravated a groin injury toward the end of practice Friday and was kept out of most drills Saturday.

    "It's the same thing he's had for quite a while," Sherman said. "There's concern, but not that he won't be available (for the game). He's always available."

    Sherman said he will decide after the team's walk-through today whether Darren Sharper will regain his starting spot at strong safety.

    Sharper practiced the last three days. He's probable for Monday's game with a partially torn posterior-cruciate ligament in his left knee. The injury kept him out of the Oct. 31 game at Washington and has limited him the past two contests to playing as an extra defensive back in the dime package on passing downs.

    "I don't know if you can say (he's running at) full speed, but he's as close as he's been," Sherman said.

    Bhawoh Jue has started the last three games at Sharper's spot.

    MARSHALL GOES ON IR
    Linebacker Torrance Marshall's season ended prematurely when the team placed him on injured reserve Saturday because of a recurring hamstring injury.

    A magnetic-resonance-imaging exam performed Friday revealed tearing in Marshall's left hamstring. He first encountered problems the latter part of training camp in August and then aggravated the injury a third time while on the punt-coverage unit during the last game.

    Sherman said Marshall's timetable for recovery was placed at a minimum four to six weeks, thus prompting the decision to put him on the season-ending IR list.

    "With the numbers game and with it being so late in the season, I kind of had a feeling it was going to happen," Marshall said. "It's frustrating, but that's the way the ball bounces sometimes. I'm just going to rehab and try to get myself better."

    Marshall, in his fourth year with the team, will be an unrestricted free agent after the season.

    Linebacker Nick Rogers was re-signed to take Marshall's spot on the roster. He had been waived by the team for the second time in the past six weeks on Tuesday, when Jackson was signed.

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  • DJRamFan
    [Packers] Davenport not hamstrung by cold weather
    by DJRamFan
    Associated Press
    GREEN BAY, Wis. - Running back Najeh Davenport hopes an incident-free practice outdoors Friday bodes well for his anticipated return to the Green Bay Packers lineup Monday night.

    Head coach Mike Sherman ran his team through a 90-minute workout at Ray Nitschke Field, where winter hats and gloves came in handy because of temperatures that hovered around the freezing mark with the wind chill.

    Though Davenport was limited to what he said afterward was about a dozen reps, the No. 2 halfback came away encouraged that his strained left hamstring held up for the second straight day.

    "Actually, I thought it would be worse because it was cold," Davenport said. "But, I went out there today, and I felt better today than I did yesterday inside the Hutson Center. So, who knows? (The cold weather) might have an opposite effect."

    Listed as probable on the injury report, Davenport is optimistic he will be cleared to play Monday night against St. Louis at Lambeau Field. The game-time forecast calls for temperatures in the 20s and a chance of snow.

    It's possible Davenport, who was deactivated for the 16-13 win at Houston last Sunday, will have to start in place of Ahman Green. The Packers kept the Pro Bowl halfback out of practice Friday for the third straight day.

    Green suffered sprained rib cartilage on the Packers' first offensive play in the last game and, after briefly returning, was sidelined the entire second half.

    Green is questionable for Monday, meaning he has a 50 percent chance of playing. Offensive coordinator Tom Rossley refrained Friday from speculating about Green's availability for the game, not knowing whether he will participate in the team's final practice of the week Saturday.

    Davenport also is no guarantee to play Monday because he has yet to test the hamstring at full speed. Still, Davenport said he feels healthier than he's been since sustaining the injury in the win over Minnesota on Nov. 14.

    As it stands, the Packers have only two healthy halfbacks: No. 3 Tony Fisher and recently signed James Jackson, formerly of Cleveland.

    Walter Williams, promoted from the practice squad to fill in for Davenport at Houston, was lost in the first half of that game with a high ankle sprain. He, too, is questionable for Monday and hasn't practiced this week.

    Although the Packers would like to safeguard themselves should they endure any more setbacks during play Monday, Rossley indicated it would be difficult to activate four halfbacks given the constraints of a 45-man roster on game day.

    "I don't know if we can do that," Rossley conceded. "Maybe Mike can work it out. But, we need to have at least three that we feel like can go. We don't need any up that are just part-timers."

    Compounding matters...
    -11-29-2004, 02:24 PM
  • DJRamFan
    [Packers] Notebook: Davenport, Luchey improve, but Green’s status remains iffy
    by DJRamFan
    By Pete Dougherty
    PackersNews.com

    The Packers’ prospects at running back are picking up some as the week goes on, but whether they’ll have starter Ahman Green for Monday night’s game against St. Louis might be up in the air until game day.

    Backup halfback Najeh Davenport practiced for the second straight day Friday, and though he’s not at full speed, he said his injured left hamstring feels about the same as his right hamstring did when he returned from that injury in Week 5.

    Coach Mike Sherman is listing Davenport as probable (75 percent chance of playing) on the Packers’ injury report.

    “I think I can play, but it’s up to coach,” Davenport said.

    Fullback Nick Luchey returned to practice Friday after missing Wednesday and Thursday because of a shoulder injury.

    Whether he’ll be healthy enough to withstand contact is another matter, and he remains listed as questionable (50 percent chance of playing).

    Green hasn’t practiced all week because of sprained ribs and also is questionable. His status for Monday night depends on his upper-body mobility and whether he can withstand hits to his midsection, which the Packers might not know until as late as Monday.

    If Green can’t play, Davenport or No. 3 halfback Tony Fisher will be the starting halfback, and newly signed James Jackson will be available as a backup.

    No. 4 halfback Walter Williams (ankle) also didn’t practice and is listed as questionable.

    Other injuries: Two other players, backup tight end David Martin (knee) and backup linebacker Torrance Marshall (hamstring), sat out. Martin is listed as questionable and Marshall as probable.

    Safeties Darren Sharper (knee) and Michael Hawthorne (ankle) both practiced and are probable.

    Rams update: Though the Rams’ best receiver, Torry Holt, is listed as questionable because of a knee injury, he practiced Friday and is nearly a sure bet to play against the Packers.

    The Rams, however, probably won’t have their No. 3 cornerback, Dejuan Groce, who hasn’t practiced and is doubtful (25 percent chance of playing) because of a knee injury. He had been playing in their dime defense and will be replaced in that role by recently signed Antuan Edwards, a former Packers first-round draft pick.

    Starting guard Chris Dishman (knee) is out.

    Security: The NFL sent a memo to its teams this week reminding them of their security obligations and has scheduled a teleconference for security directors on Tuesday to go over league guidelines. That’s in wake of the brawl last week between players and spectators at the NBA game between the Detroit Pistons and Indiana Pacers.

    Jerry Parins, the Packers’ director of corporate security, said the Packers haven’t had any major problems with fans while on the road this season.

    “The...
    -11-28-2004, 06:39 PM
  • DJRamFan
    [Packers] Who’ll run behind Favre? It’s hard to say
    by DJRamFan
    By Dylan B. Tomlinson
    PackersNews.com

    After the Green Bay Packers practiced on Saturday, coach Mike Sherman still didn’t seem to have any idea who his starting running back would be when the Packers host the St. Louis Rams on Monday night at Lambeau Field.

    For the fourth straight day, the Packers had to practice without Pro Bowl back Ahman Green, who has been out since injuring his ribs in Sunday night’s win over the Houston Texans.

    Green is listed as questionable on the team’s injury report, but Sherman said he likely won’t know until Monday whether Green will be able to play.

    “He did some things for us, like hitting bags, just to see where he was,” Sherman said.

    “He’s still day-to-day and we will not know anything until game day.”

    If Green does play, Sherman said he will almost certainly wear a flak jacket to protect his ribs. Sherman said he wants to test Green, but said he doesn’t want to further injure him in doing so.

    “We certainly can’t replicate the hit that he took,” Sherman said.

    “He’s a pretty tough guy, but we have to find out if he can twist and torque like he usually does.”

    If Green is unable to go, Sherman said he hopes to start backup Najeh Davenport.

    “More than likely, that would be the case.” Sherman said.

    If Sherman sounds unsure, it’s because Davenport isn’t healthy, either. An injured hamstring had him on the inactive list for the Texans game.

    Davenport practiced Saturday and is listed as probable for Monday night’s game.

    Davenport said he is confident he will be able to start if needed.

    “I feel like I’m about 80, 85 percent,” Davenport said. “I feel good. I’m ready to go if (Green) can’t. That’s why I’m here.”

    In the unlikely event neither Green nor Davenport can play Monday night, Sherman will have to look to Tony Fisher or possibly even James Jackson, whom the Packers signed on Tuesday.

    Sherman said he’s been pleased with the job Jackson has done, trying to learn an entire offense in less than a week.

    “James has done an outstanding job,” Sherman said. “He hasn’t made a mental mistake all week.”

    Fullback Nick Luchey is listed as questionable with a shoulder injury, but Sherman said he was optimistic Luchey might be able to go.

    Running back Walter Williams, who has a high ankle sprain, was downgraded from questionable and will miss Monday night’s game.

    If Green can’t go, the Packers may have to rely on Brett Favre to carry the offense. With Davenport out and Green’s time severely limited against the Texans, Favre threw the ball 50 times. It was the most pass attempts he’d had in a game since Nov. 27, 2000, when he threw 51 times against the Carolina Panthers. Green Bay offensive coordinator Tom Rossley said he hopes...
    -11-28-2004, 06:35 PM
  • DJRamFan
    [Packers] Notebook: Injury ends Marshall’s season
    by DJRamFan
    By Dylan B. Tomlinson
    PackersNews.com

    Just a day after being listed as probable on the Green Bay Packers’ injury report, linebacker Torrance Marshall was downgraded Saturday to out, as in out for the season.

    He was placed on injured reserve after coach Mike Sherman got the results of a magnetic resonance imaging exam that showed Marshall’s hamstring injury was more serious than anyone thought.

    “The MRI showed some fluid and some tearing,” Sherman said. “It’s the third time he’s injured the same hamstring, and the doctors thought it would be at least four to six weeks before he would be back.”

    To fill Marshall’s roster spot, the Packers re-signed linebacker Nick Rogers, who was waived Tuesday to make room for running back James Jackson.

    Marshall played in nine of 10 games for the Packers, mostly on special teams, where he was tied for second on the team with eight tackles. Rogers has played in six games, also mostly on special teams.

    Packers injury update: Receiver Robert Ferguson was added to the injury report with a groin injury that forced him to miss Saturday’s practice.

    Sherman said the injury has bothered Ferguson throughout the season, but didn’t think it would keep him from playing Monday night against the St. Louis Rams.

    “His groin has been bothering him, so we backed off on him quite a bit this week,” Sherman said. “He’s always going to be available, though.”

    Sherman also said he was optimistic that Pro Bowl safety Darren Sharper would be able to return to the starting lineup.

    Sharper, listed as probable with a knee injury, has played a limited role in the Packers’ last two games. He has been replaced in the starting lineup by Bhawoh Jue.

    “I can’t say he’s full speed (yet),” Sherman said. “We’ll know more (today).”

    Defensive back Michael Hawthorne is listed as probable with an ankle injury, but also is expected to play.

    Tight end David Martin will miss Monday night’s game with a knee injury. He was downgraded from questionable.

    Rams injury update: The Rams made no changes in their injury report.

    Their most serious injuries are guard Chris Dishman, who is out; cornerback Dejuan Groce, who is doubtful; and wide receiver Torry Holt, who is questionable. All three players have knee injuries.

    Hail from the chief: Gov. Jim Doyle proclaimed Monday as “Brett Favre Day” in Wisconsin in honor of what will be the 200th consecutive start by the Packers’ quarterback.
    -11-28-2004, 06:36 PM
  • DJRamFan
    [Packers] Packers hope to get their wish — no Thanksgiving game in ’05
    by DJRamFan
    By Rob Demovsky
    PackersNews.com

    The Green Bay Packers were spared a dreaded Thanksgiving Day game this season, but there’s no guarantee they won’t be forced into playing on the holiday in 2005.

    The Packers, who were regular participants in the game at Detroit until Vince Lombardi put a stop to it in 1963, played on Thanksgiving in 2001 and 2003 after playing on the holiday only four times from 1964 to 2000. Detroit has hosted a Thanksgiving Day game since 1934, and Dallas has done so since 1966.

    Packers President Bob Harlan said he was unaware of any pattern to the scheduling of opponents for Dallas or Detroit for the Thanksgiving games or whether anything should be read into that the Packers played on Thanksgiving in the last two odd-numbered years.

    Because the Packers are in the NFC North Division with the Lions and play at Detroit every season, there’s always the chance they could play on Thanksgiving.

    “We were a little surprised when we went back last year,” Harlan said. “But I’m sure the NFL wanted to take advantage of having Brett Favre on national television because it’s a huge day for ratings. We don’t get any say in it.”

    When the NFL schedule is completed each spring, Harlan said he typically gets a call from the league office informing him where and when the Packers will play that season. Before that, he has little or no contact with the schedule makers.

    During his tenure with the Packers, never has any NFL executive asked Harlan whether the Packers want to play on Thanksgiving. If someone did, Harlan almost certainly would tell the league the Packers would rather not play on that day.

    “I’ve never had a coach here who really looked forward to it,” Harlan said.” I know (former General Manager) Ron (Wolf) hated it. It just makes for a tough week whether you’re home or away. It’s tough to get ready.”

    Harlan said there have been discussions at the annual owners meetings about varying the sites for the Thanksgiving games instead of keeping them in Dallas and Detroit every year.

    “Someone always stands up and says it’s a huge advantage for Dallas and Detroit,” Harlan said.

    “And then Dallas and Detroit stand up and says ‘Look at our records. It’s not that good.’”

    Detroit is 33-30-2 on Thanksgiving after Thursday’s 41-9 loss to Indianapolis. Dallas is 23-13-1 after Thursday’s 21-7 win over the Chicago Bears.

    Moving up? Last week, the Packers promoted running back Walter Williams from the practice squad because of a hamstring injury to Najeh Davenport.

    This week, fullback Vonta Leach might get the same call. With fullback Nick Luchey questionable because of a separated shoulder, Leach said he has been working with the regular offense in practice in addition to his scout-team duties in preparation for Monday’s game against St. Louis....
    -11-28-2004, 06:42 PM
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