Zombo's Cursed Season Continues

The outside linebacker sustained a hamstring injury that figures to sideline him for Monday night's game against Minnesota. That and more Packers personnel news.

It's starting to turn into an inconvenient theme for Green Bay Packers outside linebacker Frank Zombo — play one game, out the next, play one game, out the next.

Coach Mike McCarthy announced Monday that Zombo probably won't be available for the Packers' next game, at home against the Minnesota Vikings on Monday night, Nov. 14. The second-year player sustained a hamstring strain Sunday and left the Packers' 45-38 victory at the San Diego Chargers in the fourth quarter.

"I don't think it's a severe hamstring (injury)," McCarthy said. "(But) he will be challenged and most likely will not make the Minnesota game."

Zombo also missed the Packers' win at Minnesota in the NFC North rivals' first meeting Oct. 23 because of a hyperextended knee he sustained the previous week in his belated season debut. A broken shoulder blade Zombo suffered in the preseason cost him the first five games of the season. Zombo, who recorded four sacks while starting only half a season last year, has played in only about 50 snaps this season.

Zombo rotated in for a couple series Sunday at right outside linebacker, spelling starter Erik Walden, and finished with one tackle.

Green Bay's defense, which is licking its wounds after another mostly poor performance against the pass, could get some help this week — at least on the practice field.

McCarthy said the plan is to have second-year defensive end Mike Neal start practicing Thursday. Neal has been sidelined since suffering cartilage damage in his left knee during training camp and then undergoing surgery a week into the regular season.

He had been projected to be an opening-day starter as the replacement for pass-rush standout Cullen Jenkins, who signed with the Philadelphia Eagles in free agency.

McCarthy said "it's too early" to know how soon Neal could potentially contribute on game day this season.

"We'll detail exactly what we feel what Mike can handle," McCarthy said. "There's going to be a progression of bringing Mike back to practice, and that conversation will go here in the next couple days, but we're shooting for him to be on the practice field Thursday."

More personnel notes

— LT Chad Clifton is optimistic about returning to action before the end of the season, but he figures to need at least a few more weeks of recovery from the torn hamstring that has sidelined him the last three games. Marshall Newhouse will continue as the starter.

"In my mind, yes," Clifton said about playing again this season. "We definitely don't think I'm done for the year. Things are progressing nicely. It feels a million times better even than it did the week before the bye, so that's encouraging."

— QB Aaron Rodgers has staked his claim as the league's best quarterback after the first half of the season in overwhelming fashion. Rodgers' passer rating of 129.1 is nearly 29 points ahead of second-place Drew Brees (100.6) of the New Orleans Saints. Rodgers leads the league with 24 touchdown passes and a completion percentage of 72.5 — Brees also is No. 2 in those categories with 21 and 71.0, respectively. Rodgers, who also has a league-low three interceptions among regular starters, matched a career high with four touchdown passes against San Diego.

— SS Charlie Peprah had the first two-interception game of his six-year career Sunday. Peprah's 40-yard interception return for a touchdown in the first quarter was his first scoring play as a pro. He sealed the victory with a pick deep in Packers territory in the final 30 seconds that he returned 76 yards to the Chargers' 6-yard line. Peprah ranks second on the team with a career-high four interceptions, one behind CB Charles Woodson.

— K Mason Crosby leads the league with 15-for-15 accuracy on field goals this season. Only two other kickers are at 100 percent with at least 10 field goals made — Jacksonville's Josh Scobee (14-of-14) and Atlanta's Matt Bryant (12-of-12).

— ILB Desmond Bishop leads the team with four sacks. He had one of the Packers' two sacks of San Diego's Philip Rivers.

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