Walden In Doubt; Steelers Ruled Out

Donald Driver is held out of practice for precautionary reasons and is listed as probable for Sunday. Meanwhile, as expected, Maurkice Pouncey and Aaron Smith are out for Pittsburgh. Plus, updates from the final practice before the Super Bowl.

DALLAS -- The Green Bay Packers have had a revolving door at outside linebacker all season, so why should it be any different for Sunday's Super Bowl XLV against the Pittsburgh Steelers?

Starter Erik Walden was limited at practice all week with a sprained ankle and is listed as questionable on the Packers' injury report, which was released on Friday afternoon. Coach Mike McCarthy said he'll trust Walden and the medical staff to make the right decision on Sunday. If he can't start, Frank Zombo – who hasn't played since suffering a knee sprain against Detroit on Dec. 12 – will regain his spot in the starting lineup.

Donald Driver was limited for a second consecutive day after aggravating a quad strain but coach Mike McCarthy voiced little concern about the veteran receiver who turned 36 on Wednesday.

"I would be shocked if Donald Driver does not play Sunday," McCarthy said during his final press conference, held Friday morning at the media hotel. "He would practice today if I would let him. He tweaked it in Wednesday's practice, and frankly I just do not want to take any chances at this point. So, I will hold Donald from practice again today. Donald's played a lot of football, he knows the offense, he's had a whole week of preparation with the plan last week, so this is clearly just being safe with him."

Meanwhile, the biggest nonstory of Super Bowl week has been resolved. Pro Bowl rookie center Maurkice Pouncey has been ruled out because of what allegedly is a high ankle sprain but what reportedly is a broken ankle with ligament damage. Aaron Smith, the veteran starter at defensive end, has been ruled out, as well. He missed most of the season with a torn triceps.

"The NFL is made up of lots of players like him — guys who somehow got an opportunity and seized it,'' Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said of the new starting center, Doug Legursky. "We're completely confident that he will seize this opportunity and play well. That's why we're not changing what we do.''

That's a wrap

The Packers posed for their team photo and listened to a five-minute presentation from outside linebackers coach Kevin Greene – the former Steelers great -- before beginning a swift 47-minute practice at Highland Park High School's indoor practice facility. McCarthy said the team went over every situation twice and is ready to play.

"The one thing you want to see in your football team is that the players have maintained confidence throughout the process. Our guys have done that," McCarthy told Sports Illustrated's Jim Trotter, the pool reporter allowed to attend practice. "They totally believe what's in front of them. They believe in what they've seen on film. We respect Pittsburgh, but we feel that this is our time and Sunday will be our night."

The practice, which focused on special teams and 11-on-11 segments with noise pumped in through speakers, was roughly half the length of a normal Friday workout. McCarthy said it was by design because the team went longer than usual in their previous "Friday" workout in Green Bay last Sunday.

"I feel good about preparation," he said. "I thought today was sharp."

The team will conduct a jog-through practice on Saturday morning at the team hotel in Las Colinas.

Packers injury report

Questionable: LB Erik Walden (ankle). Probable: T Chad Clifton (knees); WR Donald Driver (quad); C/G Jason Spitz (calf); LB Frank Zombo (knee).

Steelers injury report

Out: C Maurkice Pouncey (ankle); DE Aaron Smith (triceps).


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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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