By the end of Thursday’s practice, the Green Bay Packers might have cornerback Sam Shields and left tackle David Bakhtiari ready to roll for Saturday’s NFC Divisional playoff game at Arizona.
Cornerback Sam Shields, who has missed the past four games with a concussion, returned to practice on Wednesday. Coach Mike McCarthy said he was hopeful Shields could “do more” at Thursday’s practice. That “hopefully” will get Shields out of the concussion protocol, McCarthy said.
During the portion of practice that reporters were allowed to watch, Shields flew around the field during individual drills and caught every ball thrown his direction. He was listed as limited participation.
Left tackle David Bakhtiari, who has missed the last three games with an injured ankle, was listed as limited participation for a second consecutive day. McCarthy said Bakhtiari was “going to try to do a lot more” at Thursday’s practice.
Both players were sidelined for Green Bay’s 38-8 loss at Arizona in Week 16. Without Shields, Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer threw for 238 yards and two touchdowns in the first half alone. Without Bakhtiari, the Packers gave up nine sacks – including four against Bakhtiari’s replacement, Don Barclay.
Cornerback Quinten Rollins, who exited the Washington game with an injured quad, returned to practice and was limited. He said he's "day-to-day." The only players not participating while reporters were present were receiver Davante Adams (knee) and guard T.J. Lang (calf). Lang officially was limited participation. Adams didn't practice and would have to do so on Friday to play on Saturday, McCarthy said.
Before the injury, Bakhtiari had gone nine consecutive games without allowing a sack. That’s a noteworthy achievement considering the left tackle usually faces the opponent’s top pass rusher.
“You look for a shutdown-type player,” McCarthy said of a left tackle. “If you’re going to design a football team, the four components, positions that you have to have – and I just go back to my early years in Kansas City, because it’s the first time I’d heard that and I believe it – is your quarterback, left tackle, pass rushers and corners. So, if you want to play whatever style of football, to have those four pieces in place it definitely gives you the flexibility scheme-wise to do the things you want to do.”
On Wednesday, Bakhtiari said he was feeling better. It’s been a frustrating road back for Bakhtiari, who had started every game in his three-year career until missing the Arizona game.
Barring a setback, he appears set to return for the team’s biggest game of the season.
“Mentally, I just want to go, want to go, want to go,” Bakhtiari said. “Sometimes they say your eyes are bigger than your stomach, and you want to eat a lot more food than you really can. Trust me, I’ve lived that. So, I think it’s the same thing. I want to play, I want to go out and play, but sometimes you really need to take a step back and take yourself out and go, ‘Can you? Is this really working? Is the equation really going to work?’ So, for me, it’s really day by day.”
PACKERS INJURY REPORT
Player (injury): Wednesday, Thursday
WR Davante Adams (knee): DNP, DNP
LT David Bakhtiari (ankle): Limited, Limited
DT Mike Daniels (hamstring): Limited, Limited
OLB Jayrone Elliott (quad): Full, Full
DE Datone Jones (neck): Limited, Limited
RB Eddie Lacy (rib): Limited, Limited
G T.J. Lang (calf): Limited, Limited
OLB Mike Neal (hip): Limited, Limited
TE Justin Perillo (hamstring): Full, Full
TE Andrew Quarless (knee): Limited, Limited
TE Richard Rodgers (hip): Limited, Limited
CB Quinten Rollins (quad): DNP, Limited
CB Sam Shields (concussion): Limited, Limited
G Josh Sitton (back): Limited, Limited
CARDINALS INJURY REPORT
Players (injury): Wednesday, Thursday
LB Markus Golden (knee): Limited, Limited
G Mike Iupati (shoulder): Limited, Full
DT Josh Mauro (calf): Limited, Limited
QB Carson Palmer (right finger): Full, Full
DT Frostee Rucker (ankle): Limited, Limited
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.