Packers coach Mike McCarthy ruled out defensive end Datone Jones (knee) and cornerback Sam Shields (knee) and listed cornerback Tramon Williams (ankle) as questionable. Had the Packers practiced on Friday, Williams would have been limited participation. Jones was injured against Minnesota two weeks ago while Shields and Williams were hurt in the second half of last week's game at Miami. Given the Packers’ new practice format, Saturday will be key in determining his availability.
“We’ll give Tramon Williams every opportunity all the way up to game time to play,” McCarthy said.
Since the start of the 2007 season, Williams has missed only one game, and he’s missed only one start since the 2010 season. That was Week 2 of the 2011 season, when he missed the game at Carolina with a shoulder injury.
“Definitely very durable. Very impressive athlete in the strength and conditioning,” McCarthy said. “He’s always been impressive in there, takes great care of his body. He’s a pro. He’s an old-school pro. I don’t think there’s any question when we got back here Monday that he was going to do everything that he could to play in this game. I have great confidence in him.”
McCarthy didn’t have a timetable for Shields, other than “he’s getting better” following what McCarthy called a knee sprain.
Jones will miss a second consecutive game. He was limited participation at practice last Saturday but didn’t play against the Dolphins, and was limited at Wednesday’s practice this week, as well. However, Jones didn’t practice on Thursday and wouldn't have on Friday, either.
“I’m a little surprised at the path,” McCarthy said. “He’s struggling laterally right now and until he gets that back, it doesn’t make sense to push it forward. I thought he fought through last Saturday’s practice but he’s had a setback.”
Meanwhile, Panthers receiver Kelvin Benjamin “went through everything” at Friday’s practice after missing the last two days with a concussion, Carolina coach Ron Rivera told reporters in Charlotte. He is listed as questionable and remains in the NFL’s concussion protocol, with the final hurdle being clearance from an independent doctor. That would come before the team departs for Green Bay on Saturday. The 6-foot-5 receiver ranks first or second among rookies in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.
"He looked good on the field," Rivera said. "He practiced well. He was sharp. I really don't think he had a (mental error). He took a lot of reps today, which I understand is part of protocol."
Also veteran running back Jonathan Stewart will start for the Panthers after missing the last three games with a knee injury. Last week, Stewart and regular starter DeAngelo Williams (ankle) were sidelined and Fozzy Whittaker sustained a thigh injury, leaving the running game in the hands of quarterback Cam Newton. Williams is out and Whittaker is doubtful.
GREEN BAY PACKERS
|Colin Cole||DT||Non-injury related||Not listed||Not listed||DNP||Probable|
|Thomas Davis||LB||Not injury related||DNP||Full||Full||Probable|
|Dwan Edwards||DT||Not injury related||DNP||Full||Full||Probable|
|Roman Harper||S||Not injury related||DNP||Full||Full||Probable|
|Charles Johnson||DE||Not injury related||Not listed||DNP||Full||Probable|