Driver’s broken thumb adds to injury woes

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Packers veteran wide receiver Donald Driver has a broken thumb, which explains why the franchise’s all-time leading receiver was inactive last Sunday for the first time since a quadriceps injury kept him out of a game on Nov. 7, 2010.

It was only the fourth game Driver has missed over the past decade.

“The thumb is OK, (but) it’s broken,” Driver said Wednesday in the locker room after having limited participation in practice. “I can’t do anything about it. One thing about it is it’s not the worst that I’ve had. I can fight through anything, and I’ll continue to fight through this one.”

Driver’s injury adds to what has become a seemingly insurmountable number of injuries for Green Bay.

Outside linebacker Clay Matthews, wide receiver Jordy Nelson, defensive back Charles Woodson, cornerback Sam Shields, offensive lineman T.J. Lang, defensive linemen Mike Neal and C.J. Wilson and running back James Starks all are part of the slew of injuries that coach Mike McCarthy is currently dealing with.

“I’m timelined out,” McCarthy said at one point during his Wednesday news conference while attempting to recall each player’s recovery.

Matthews has been out the past three games plus a bye week with a hamstring injury, even though McCarthy originally projected the Packers’ sacks leader to only miss “a couple weeks.”

Nelson aggravated a hamstring injury early in last Sunday’s game and did not return.

“I don’t know if they’ll be ready this week,” McCarthy said of Matthews and Nelson, both of whom did not practice Wednesday.

Lang left Sunday’s game with an ankle injury and was unable to return.

“It’s not progressing I know the way he’d like,” McCarthy said of Lang.

Starks suffered a knee injury in Sunday’s game. McCarthy initially thought it was “not of a serious nature,” but it turned out to be worse than expected and prompted Green Bay to sign former Packer Ryan Grant.

“James Starks, it will definitely be multiple weeks,” McCarthy said. “He won’t be ready this week. It’s something that flared up on Monday. He just thought he had a bruise. They wanted to check it. They didn’t like what they saw. James thought he was fine to play. Then they did some more tests and did not like what they saw.

“It will definitely be a multiple-week injury.”

McCarthy also received bad news regarding Neal, the pass-rushing defensive end who has two sacks this season and has been battling a shoulder injury.

“I don’t feel real good about what the medical staff told me today about Mike,” McCarthy said of Neal.

Wilson, who has 2.5 sacks this season and is one of Green Bay’s best run stoppers, did not practice Wednesday and could miss his second consecutive game with a knee injury.

The bit of good news McCarthy was given from the medical staff was on Shields and Woodson. Shields has missed the past six games with an ankle injury, while Woodson has been recovering from a broken collarbone since Oct. 21. But both were able to practice Wednesday.

“It was great to have Charles out there,” McCarthy said. “He’s getting close. He was able to do the competitive drill and worked throughout the team. It’s a good start. We’ll obviously evaluate him as we go through the week.”

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