GREEN BAY, Wis. — With the Packers just four days away from an opportunity to exact a small dose of revenge against the New York Giants for a playoff blowout last season, coach Mike McCarthy will likely continue to be without several of his key players.
Outside linebacker Clay Matthews leads the list of injured Packers, with McCarthy saying Wednesday it’s “doubtful” his star pass-rusher will be available in time for Sunday night’s game.
Matthews injured his hamstring in a Nov. 4 win over the Arizona Cardinals. The next day, McCarthy said Matthews would be out “a couple weeks.” It’s now been 17 days.
Two-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Greg Jennings practiced Wednesday — on a very limited basis — for the first time since Sept. 28. Jennings injured his groin in Week 1, played limited snaps in Weeks 3 and 4, and has been out since. After more than an additional month of rehabilitation following the game on Sept. 30, Jennings got a second medical opinion and ended up undergoing abdominal surgery.
But Jennings’ return to practice likely doesn’t mean he’s ready for game action.
“Greg went through the rehab segment and was able to do some individual drills, and we’ll see where he is tomorrow,” McCarthy said. “It’ll be a stretch for him to be ready, but it’s something I know he would like to push to do. So we’ll just see. We’ll let the week work out, see how much he does day to day.”
Jennings was his normal optimistic self about his chances for the upcoming game against the Giants.
“Me, personally, I don’t feel I’m a long shot,” Jennings said at his locker. “Playing it safe, I think they could say long shot. I feel great, the body feels great. This is my first day going out there and actually getting on the ground, running some routes, catching some balls, getting my wind underneath me. Just seeing how it feels again to be part of the group, part of the guys.
“Today was a big step for me. Whether or not I’ll play this week, that’s still yet to be determined.”
Shields still out
One certainty is that starting cornerback Sam Shields will remain out for a fifth consecutive game due to an ankle injury.
“Sam’s had a setback and it’s going be a couple weeks,” McCarthy said. “He’s not making the improvement that we hoped. It’s a little more serious injury than we anticipated.”
When Shields was approached in the locker room about his apparent setback, he wasn’t too sure what McCarthy was talking about.
“I didn’t do anything (to aggravate it),” Shields said. “I’m just not ready. We’re just going day-by-day right now, week-by-week. I don’t know.”
Shields appeared to be walking fine and even jumped up and down to show that his ankle was functioning well. Shields was a limited participant in practice last week but was officially ruled out of Sunday’s game on Wednesday after sitting out the morning practice.
“I don’t know when I’ll actually be out there, but I’m taking it one day at a time,” Shields said.
Veteran defensive back Charles Woodson will miss his third game in a row due to a broken collarbone. Woodson is expected to return within the next few weeks.