Mike Neal cut off the question as if it were a bootlegging quarterback.
“You know I’m playing on Sunday.”
Neal, who has started seven of eight games at outside linebacker with Clay Matthews entrenched at inside linebacker, didn’t practice on Wednesday and Thursday and would have been limited had the Packers practiced on Friday. He is listed as questionable on the injury report released Friday afternoon.
Also questionable for Green Bay are running back Eddie Lacy (groin), receiver Ty Montgomery (ankle) and cornerback Sam Shields (shoulder). The other 10 players on the list are probable.
Of the four, Shields’ presence would be the most critical. He is without question the Packers’ No. 1 cornerback and he’s the only one on the roster with an extensive history matching up against Detroit’s star receiver, Calvin Johnson.
“He’s one of our top players on defense. It’s always great to have Sam out there lined up,” coach Mike McCarthy said.
Neal, who has two sacks among 22 tackles this season, has played about 400 snaps in the first eight games, putting him on pace for 800. Neal, a second-round pick in 2010, never has played even 700 snaps in a season. Neal is a near-constant on the injury report but he’s also a constant in the lineup. Since being suspended for the first four games of the 2012 season, Neal has played in 51 of a possible 52 games. After missing 23 of a possible 32 regular-season games in 2010 and 2011, Neal has played in 40 in a row since the start of 2013.
“Sometimes it’s a little difficult,” to practice on minimal or no practice time, he said. “This year, I’m playing a whole lot more than I’ve ever played. So, that’s a little bit different for me. From an injury standpoint, it’s stuff that’s lingering from the offseason from the surgery that I had. That stuff flares up. You don’t get enough time to heal. When it flares up, they do a good job of controlling everything. Other than that, this is the best that I’ve felt at this point in the season. I feel good compared to what I’ve felt in the past, so I’m happy about that.”
Hayward said he’s beyond the concussion sustained during the second half last week. If, in fact, he had a concussion. Hayward said he “didn’t have many symptoms” after the game. He returned to practice on Thursday and didn’t experience any symptoms.
A full-strength secondary would be a major asset against the pass-happy Lions, who have run the ball less than any team in the league.
“I think we’re missed,” Hayward said. “We’re veteran guys. We’ve been out there. We kind of know what to assume. But those (younger) guys, when they were in there, they battled, they competed, they made some plays. But I think in order to have that Super Bowl push, playoff push, we need all our guys healthy. When we get Sam back, if we get Sam back this week, he’d definitely help.”
For Detroit, Johnson was limited on Wednesday and Thursday and did not practice on Friday. He is questionable. Veteran corner Rashean Mathis will miss a second consecutive game with a concussion.
Here's the full injury report:
Packers injury report
Player (injury): Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. Status.
RT Bryan Bulaga (knee): DNP, Limited, Limited. Probable.
S Morgan Burnett (ankle): Full, Full, Full. Probable.
CB Casey Hayward (concussion): DNP, Limited, Full. Probable.
DB Micah Hyde (quad): Full, Full, Full. Probable.
WR James Jones (quad): Not listed, Limited, Limited. Probable.
RB Eddie Lacy (groin): Limited, Limited, Limited. Questionable.
RG T.J. Lang (back): Limited, Limited, Full. Probable.
LB Clay Matthews (ankle/knee): Limited, Limited, Limited. Probable.
WR Ty Montgomery (ankle): Limited, Limited, Limited. Questionable.
OLB Mike Neal (hip): DNP, DNP, Limited. Questionable.
OLB Nick Perry (shoulder/hand): Limited, Limited, Limited. Probable.
CB Damarious Randall (illness): DNP, Full, Full. Probable.
CB Quinten Rollins (neck): Full, Full, Full. Probable.
CB Sam Shields (shoulder): Limited, Limited, Limited. Questionable.
G Josh Sitton (back): Limited, Limited, Limited. Probable.
Note: The Packers' Friday designation is an estimation.
Lions injury report
Player (injury): Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Status.
S James Ihedigbo (shoulder): Full, Full, Full, Probable.
WR Calvin Johnson (ankle): Limited, Limited, DNP. Questionable.
LB Travis Lewis (groin): Limited, Full, Probable.
CB Rashean Mathis (concussion): DNP, DNP, DNP, Out.
S Isa Abdul-Quddus (foot): Not listed, Not listed, DNP. Questionable
CB Darius Slay (head): Full, Full, Probable.
CB Josh Wilson (neck): Full, Full, Probable.
Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PackerReport.