Bye-week upgrades many Packers to probable
GREEN BAY, Wis. — It's far from a clean bill of health, but the Packers are slowly starting to get some of their key players back.
Though outside linebacker Clay Matthews (hamstring), wide receiver Greg Jennings (abdominal surgery) and defensive back Charles Woodson (broken collarbone) are still out, wide receiver Jordy Nelson (hamstring/foot) is listed as probable for Green Bay's game Sunday in Detroit against the Lions.
"I feel good," Nelson said. "I don't feel like I'm all the way back because I'd like to still do certain things, but I feel like I can run any route full speed without thinking about it, so that's what you want."
Nelson missed the Packers' Oct. 28 win against the Jaguars after injuring his hamstring in practice four days earlier. Prior to the Packers' Nov. 4 victory against the Cardinals, Nelson passed his pregame hamstring tests and was cleared to play.
However, early in the first quarter, he injured his ankle and foot on a low throw from quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Nelson sat out the rest of that game, but was able to recover well enough during the team's bye last week.
"I thought Jordy Nelson looked his old self," coach Mike McCarthy said Wednesday. "I don't have a very high or any level of concern. He practiced well. He looked normal."
Fullback John Kuhn (hamstring) is also probable after missing the past two games. Defensive linemen Mike Neal (ankle) and Jerel Worthy (concussion) are both probable, as are tight ends D.J. Williams (hamstring) and Ryan Taylor (chest), wide receiver Donald Driver (thumb), offensive lineman T.J. Lang (elbow/wrist) and running back Alex Green (knee).
Cornerback Sam Shields is listed as questionable, but it doesn't seem like he has any chance of playing.
"He's not ready yet," cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt said Friday.
Tight end Andrew Quarless, who was activated this week off the Physically Unable to Perform list 11 months after tearing his ACL, is out. Quarless practiced Wednesday but was not able to participate Thursday or Friday.
"We're suspecting there are going to be days when he doesn't respond very well from the practice before, and today was one of those days," McCarthy said Thursday.
Within the next month, the Packers are expecting to get back Woodson, Jennings and Matthews, as well as running back Cedric Benson (foot) from the NFL's new injured reserve designation to return. But having so many players probable is a start for McCarthy's 6-3 group as Green Bay looks to make a push toward the playoffs.
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