Notebook: Great Week For Jennings

New father Greg Jennings feels good after suffering a scare with an injured left foot. Plus, will it be Dimitri Nance or James Starks on Sunday? Those items and more from a busy Thursday leading up to Sunday's game against San Francisco.

It's been a great week for Greg Jennings.

Professionally, his foot injury is on the mend and isn't the dreaded Lisfranc fracture-dislocation of the midfoot — an injury that would have sidelined him for at least nine months. Personally, Jennings became a dad for the third time with the birth of his third daughter, Avya Nicole, on Wednesday morning.

Jennings hurt his left foot on his first catch of Sunday's game. While Jennings caught five passes and topped 100 yards for the second consecutive week, the pain intensified late in the game and it swelled significantly after taking off his shoe after the game.

"I was nervous on the plane," Jennings said. "I did talk to Doc (Pat McKenzie) on the plane. I went up to him and I'm like, ‘OK, I need to know.' He kind of felt around my foot. He was like, ‘Does this hurt?' I'm like, ‘No.' He's like, ‘Does this hurt.' I'm like, ‘No.' So, OK, that's good. I'm like, ‘OK, that makes me feel better.' So then on Monday we got an X-ray and MRI and everything checked back good, outside the swelling. I mean, does it hurt? Yes. But does it hurt enough to sit out practice and the game? No."

Jennings didn't practice on Wednesday but did so extensively on Thursday. He said the injury hurt but not all the time, and he took more reps than the team was expecting.

Jennings has been dominant after a slow start. In his last six games, he has 37 catches for 639 yards and six touchdowns. That's more catches, yards and touchdowns than the Packers' second-leading receiver, James Jones, has for the entire season (35-502-3).

"It's crunch time," he said. "Like I told coach — I've told (receivers) coach (Jimmy) Robinson, I've told Mike (McCarthy) – it really doesn't matter what's ailing anybody right now, it's go time. So, if you can play, you're going to be out there."

Nance or Starks?

Dimitri Nance was a full participant at practice after passing his concussion tests. McCarthy said Nance and rookie James Starks will compete this week to see whom will play on Sunday against San Francisco.

Starks hasn't played in a game since his junior season at Buffalo, when the Bulls played in the International Bowl on Jan. 3, 2009. He missed his senior season after shoulder surgery and training camp and the start of this season with a torn hamstring. McCarthy said Starks would play when he's ready but wouldn't tip his hand on whether Starks has proved himself worthy of meaningful snaps on a playoff contender.

Can the Packers, who despise turnovers, afford to play Starks since he's such an unknown as far as ball security and pass protection?

"Well, sure, but we really don't know a ton about either guy when push comes to shove," offensive coordinator Joe Philbin said. "You're bringing up a valid point. We don't really have great information either way on whether they're going to do a great job protecting the ball or, God forbid, they don't do a great job protecting the ball. At some point in time, you've got to get some information."

Packers injury report

Did not participate: S Atari Bigby (hamstring); CB Pat Lee (ankle); S Anthony Smith (ankle). Limited participation: S Nick Collins (shoulder); WR Greg Jennings (foot); LB Clay Matthews (shin); DE Ryan Pickett (ankle); CB Charles Woodson (toe). Full participation: T Chad Clifton (knee); DE Cullen Jenkins (calf); RB Dimitri Nance (concussion).

McCarthy said Matthews likely will not work beyond the jog-through portion at the start of practice for the rest of the season. and Bigby and Smith will be "stretched" to play on Sunday.

"I think it will help him playing on grass, because definitely there's some irritation that goes on with the injury each week," McCarthy said of Matthews. "Being on grass, and we have the two FieldTurf games next week, Detroit and New England, and then grass after that."

49ers injury report

Out: T Joe Staley (fibula). Did not participate: C David Baas (concussion); LB Parys Haralson (ankle); CB William James (concussion); K Joe Nedney (right knee); CB Shawntae Spencer (quad); RB Brian Westbrook (ankle). Limited participation: WR Josh Morgan (shoulder).

The Niners' injury report is identical to Wednesday's.

Four-point stance

— After reaching 1,500 career attempts, Aaron Rodgers is the second-ranked quarterback in NFL history. We'll have a story on Friday after interviews with Philbin and quarterbacks coach Tom Clements.

— The Sports Xchange reports that the 49ers have signed kicker Jeff Reed, formerly of Pittsburgh. The 49ers are without Nedney, and Shane Andrus made only 2-of-4 in his two games.

— In the latest odds from Bodog.com, the Packers are 9-1 favorites to win the Super Bowl (compared to 7-1 last week), trailing Atlanta and New England (7-1), Baltimore (17-2) and the Jets (8-1). A game behind first-place Chicago in the NFC North, the Packers remain the favorite to win the division at 4-7 (Chicago is 5-4).

— Rookie third-round safety Morgan Burnett's season ended in Week 4 with a torn ACL. "Everything's right on schedule," he said of his rehab following surgery. "Just keep going along with the process. It's a long process, you just have to go along with it. I'm just anxious and ready to get back."


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook under Bill Huber.


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