Notebook: Clifton, Woodson Probable

The Packers have good news about two of their key starters, plus the scoop on the Lions' first-round star, Ndamukong Suh, and more from Friday.

Two of the Green Bay Packers' key starters, cornerback Charles Woodson and left tackle Chad Clifton, are listed as probable for Sunday's game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field.

Clifton suffered a concussion during Sunday's victory over San Francisco, with the symptoms not appearing until Monday. He was limited at practice all week, though he was cleared to take part in some of the padded work on Thursday.

Woodson, who sprained an ankle early in Wednesday's practice, also was limited all week. On Friday, coach Mike McCarthy said he was "very optimistic" that Woodson would be good to go on Sunday. Woodson's play will be critical against a Lions offense that ranks second in the NFL in passing attempts.

"When you're dealing with Charles Woodson and injuries, you never get too nervous, because he's always showed up," Woodson said. "That's what history tells you when it comes with him overcoming things like that. The concern level was never very high based on the communication with Charles and the medical staff. I think he'll be fine for Sunday."

Woodson has missed only two games in his five seasons with the Packers, none since the end of the 2007 season. Woodson, who won the Heisman Trophy in college at Michigan, has played well in Green Bay's recent visits to nearby Detroit. He had two interceptions and returned one for a touchdown in each of the Packers' wins over the Lions in 2008 and 2009. He also had a pick-six in this year's Week 4 game at Lambeau Field.

Packers injury report

Out: FB Korey Hall (knee); DE Cullen Jenkins (calf); CB Pat Lee (ankle). Questionable: S Atari Bigby (hamstring); S Anthony Smith (ankle). Probable: T Chad Clifton (knees; concussion); S Nick Collins (shoulder); WR Donald Driver (hand); LB Clay Matthews (shin); DE Ryan Pickett (ankle); WR Brett Swain (knee); CB Charles Woodson (toe; ankle).

Nelson was added to the injury report; McCarthy called his injury "an ongoing situation." Bigby was a full participant for the first time since the Week 11 game at Minnesota and Smith (limited) also practiced for the first time since that game. Bigby's practice time would suggest that he'll play but he injured the hamstring on the artificial surface at Mall of America Field in Minneapolis and also missed several games in 2008 with a hamstring injured on the artificial surface at Ford Field.

A man named Suh

Other than one sack, Detroit's first-round pick, defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, was a relative nonfactor in the Week 4 matchup against Green Bay and its standout right guard, Josh Sitton.

Since then, Suh has been a consistent force and is a lock to win the NFL's defensive rookie of the year. Suh is tied for 18th overall with eight sacks and leads all rookies by a wide margin in that category (the Bengals' Carlos Dunlap has 4.5).

"Playing him in Week 4 and now playing him this week, I think he definitely has improved as far as his individual performance," McCarthy said. "He's doing some things more natural going into this game in my opinion based on going into the first game. More comfortable with the scheme, he's been very productive. His statistics support that. I think he's clearly an anchor of that defensive line, which in my opinion is a strength of their defense and maybe even a strength of their football team. He's off to a good start. He'll be a challenge for us this week."

Center Scott Wells will pitch in, with the hope of keeping Suh quiet.

"He's strong for sure, that's the one thing, and he has good technique," Wells said. "He pushes the pocket well, stays active. You don't see him on the ground a lot. It's really hard to knock him down, even when guys come and hit him."

Rodgers wins again

Aaron Rodgers was voted the FedEx Air Player of the Week by fans. Rodgers also won the award in Week 11 for his performance at Minnesota.

FedEx is making a $2,000 donation in each of the winning players' names to the local Safe Kids USA coalitions in Green Bay and Jacksonville to support pedestrian safety improvements. The Jaguars' Maurice Jones-Drew won the FedEx Ground Award.

Four-point stance

-- Lions defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham worked with McCarthy at Kansas City. He's 64 years old, so either he's losing his mind or being a little dishonest with reporters in Detroit when he said this on Thursday: "Mike McCarthy used to work for us back in Kansas City when I was with Marty (Schottenheimer) and I'll tell you one thing, you watch (his teams) play, Mike doesn't fool around. They have a great passing attack but the thing that's great about it is he's still running the ball. I think he probably could take the janitor and put him back there and still run it. I really respect that because it makes his team tough."

-- The Packers will try to extend their winning streak against Detroit to 11 games, which would be the longest in this 162-game series since the Lions won 11 straight from 1949 through 1954.

-- Aaron Rodgers leads all NFL quarterbacks in 25-plus-yard passes since the start of the 2008 season with 102. Drew Brees is next with 100.

-- Green Bay leads the NFL in scoring defense and is seventh in scoring offense. Only the Falcons, Jets and Saints also boast top-10 totals in both categories.


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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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