Notebook: Neal Latest Casualty

It's one step forward but one step back for the injury-plagued Packers. Plus, receivers coach Jimmy Robinson weighs in on Greg Jennings' frustration, injury reports and more from Thursday.

The Green Bay Packers got a dose of good injury news on Thursday when Aaron Rodgers shook off the cobwebs and practiced with the intention of playing on Sunday.

Unfortunately, no injury story involving the Packers this season doesn't include a dose of bad news.

Defensive end Mike Neal, who potentially was in line to make his first NFL start in place of injured veteran Ryan Pickett, was held out of practice with a sore shoulder that occurred during last week's game at Washington. Plus, linebacker Brandon Chillar, who has missed the last two games with a shoulder injury, did not practice after returning on Wednesday on a trial basis.

"Brandon did not come out of (Wednesday's) practice the way I'm sure we all would have liked," coach Mike McCarthy said. "But he feels like he's making progress, and we'll see how he is tomorrow. He practiced (Wednesday), and this morning he did not feel like he was moving forward."

In all, there are 15 players on this week's injury report, including 13 who are listed as out, did not participate or limited participation. Because of those numbers, McCarthy cut Thursday's practice short and had them without pads.

"I'm a big believer in staying in pads throughout the year, especially in Thursday's practices," McCarthy said. "But all these adjustments we've made to our schedule are clearly from a medical perspective. Just trying to be smart with the football team. I don't think it would have been good judgment of mine to be in pads this week."

Two of the players who didn't practice were Pickett and NFL sacks leader Clay Matthews. They're making progress but considering McCarthy's typically conservative approach toward injuries, they are both long shots at this point.

Tight end Donald Lee, who was expected to miss a game or two with a chest injury sustained on his second-play fumble, returned and might play on Sunday.

Jennings' meltdown

On Wednesday, receiver Greg Jennings told reporters that, while it felt good at the moment, he was sorry to have acted out in frustration during Sunday's game at Washington.

Funny thing is, nobody knew what the mild-mannered Jennings was talking about — from reporters to teammates to the coaches.

"To be honest with you, and I told Greg this, I wasn't aware of any blowup on the sideline," receivers coach Jimmy Robinson said. "We're just in the heat of battle and we're talking about what happens on the field in between series, what just occurred, we look at the pictures. It was a nonissue. Trust me, there was nothing that he needed to apologize for. If anything was said, it went right over my head and that's the truth. These type of things kind of get blown out of proportion, because you're in the heat of battle and everybody's emotions are running high, things might not be going well at a particular point during the game and, hey, you move through it. You play through it, you coach through it, and you get them ready to go back out the next time you have the ball and get that execution to improve."

Nor does Robinson have any problem with Jennings expressing his polite frustration after catching two passes in three consecutive games.

"Everybody wants to make a big issue out of how many catches he has," Robinson said. "It's just kind of the way things go in this league. It's not the first time it's happened to a receiver that he hasn't caught as many balls as he might have liked. You could ask the guy leading the team, any team, he doesn't think he's caught enough, either. Everybody would like to get the ball. Greg and all the guys are competitive amongst themselves and that's why they're good at what they do, because they're so competitive. They want to contribute. And that's a good thing. It's a good thing they want the ball. You wouldn't want them around if they didn't want the ball, if they didn't want to be a big contributor."

Packers injury report

Out: LB Nick Barnett (wrist), TE Jermichael Finley (knee). Did not participate: LB Brandon Chillar (shoulder), LB Clay Matthews (hamstring), DE Mike Neal (shoulder), DE Ryan Pickett (ankle), T Mark Tauscher (shoulder). Limited participation: T Chad Clifton (knee), S Nick Collins (knee), DE Cullen Jenkins (hand/hamstring), TE Donald Lee (chest), QB Aaron Rodgers (concussion), CB Charles Woodson (toe). Full participation: FB Quinn Johnson (glute), CB Sam Shields (calf).

Dolphins injury report

Limited participation: DE Jared Odrick (ankle). Full participation: LB Channing Crowder (ankle), T Jake Long (knee).

Four-point stance

— Without Finley, rookie Andrew Quarless took most of the reps at the portion of practice open to reporters and was a frequent target of Rodgers.

— Jenkins said his hamstring was injured when a member of the Redskins fell knee-first onto the back of his leg. He's confident he'll play Sunday.

— Something's got to give, with the Packers 2-0 at home and Miami 2-0 on the road. "We want to be better at home but we really like going away because it's us in there and we really bond as a team," Dolphins quarterback Chad Henne said in a conference call with Packers beat reporters on Wednesday. "It seems like the world's against us and we've just got to go out there and play as a team and we're the only ones out there supporting us. We love the challenge of going away. Obviously, this is going to be a great challenge, a lot of history and we've got to take it in and play our game."

— The oddsmakers still love the Packers. In our weekly update from, they are a 10-1 favorite to win the Super Bowl, ahead of Minnesota (20-1), Chicago (25-1) and Detroit (350-1) in the NFC North. Green Bay remains the favorite in the NFC but behind the Jets, Ravens (both 7-1) and Steelers (9-1) and tied with the Colts overall.

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at and Facebook under Bill Huber.

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