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Packers' Walden expected to play despite arrest

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GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP)

Green Bay Packers outside linebacker Erik Walden is expected to start against the New York Giants on Sunday despite his arrest on suspicion of domestic violence.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Walden's situation is ''under review'' by both the team and the NFL. Given the information the team had as of Wednesday, McCarthy said Walden is expected to play.

If Walden is subject to any discipline from the team, McCarthy said it would be done privately.

''We'll watch the process, gather all the information,'' McCarthy said. ''Those types of decisions are in-house decisions anyway. We've never discussed discipline publicly. We're respecting the process and collecting the information.''

Walden was arrested Friday and spent the weekend in jail before being released Monday on a $1,000 bond. Brown County District Attorney John Zakowski said earlier this week that Walden's girlfriend told police they were arguing and he pushed her but she has changed her story to say she hit him first.

Walden, who has not been charged, is scheduled to return to court Dec. 7. He made a public apology on Tuesday, saying he was cooperating with authorities but not commenting on the specifics of the case.

Walden's legal problems might be the most troubling issue facing the undefeated Packers (11-0), but it isn't the only one as they prepare for Sunday's road game against the Giants. Green Bay lost several players to injury during its Thanksgiving Day victory at Detroit.

Right guard Josh Sitton hurt his knee, starting inside linebackers A.J. Hawk and Desmond Bishop both had calf injuries and running back James Starks tweaked an ankle that already was bothering him going into the game.

Now veteran left tackle Chad Clifton has had a setback, hurting his back during rehabilitation on the hamstring he injured in the Packers' Oct. 9 game at Atlanta. McCarthy originally was hoping to have Clifton back in practice this week.

''It's something that's knocked us off schedule,'' McCarthy said. ''We thought this would be the week he would practice. I didn't know if he'd be able to play this week. Any time you're dealing with backs there's always a little more uncertainty.''

Of the players who were hurt against the Lions, the most worrisome injury appears to be to Sitton, who already has been ruled out for Sunday.

Sitton was evasive when discussing his injury with reporters earlier this week, wearing a bulky brace on his right knee. He acknowledged that his knee injury was a recurrence of something he'd had before during his time with the Packers, but wouldn't say exactly when.

Sitton is expected to be replaced by Evan Dietrich-Smith, who stepped in against the Lions after Sitton's injury.

Dietrich-Smith then was thrust into national prominence when Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh was thrown out of the game for shoving Dietrich-Smith's helmet into the turf, then stomping on Dietrich-Smith's arm. Suh has been suspended for two games, pending an appeal.

Dietrich-Smith didn't want to comment on Suh's suspension, and wasn't exactly welcoming the publicity from the incident.

''It's not really cool to be famous for being stepped on,'' Dietrich-Smith said.

As for Bishop and Hawk, McCarthy said neither player was expected to return to practice until Friday at the earliest. The best injury news was from Starks, who was a full participant in practice Wednesday.

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Connect with AP Sports Writer Chris Jenkins: www.twitter.com/ByChrisJenkins

Tagged: Lions, Packers, Josh Sitton, Erik Walden, Evan Dietrich-Smith, Ndamukong Suh

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