The Green Bay Packers’ injury report has been the overriding story line through the first nine weeks of the season.
Now, with the Packers facing what could be a make-or-break three-game road trip to kick off the second half of their season, the roster might be getting healthier.
At Thursday’s sunny but blustery practice, only outside linebacker Clay Matthews (hamstring) and center J.C. Tretter (knee) weren’t present.
Running back James Starks, who has missed the last four games following knee surgery, and tight end Jared Cook, who has missed the last five games with a high-ankle sprain, took part in the padded practice and were listed as limited. They had a good day on Wednesday and coach Mike McCarthy anticipated that they’d increase their workload on Thursday.
“I think the first thing for Jared is to get to the point where he's practicing and exercising the game plan,” McCarthy said before practice. “Obviously played good football for us there early. It would be great to get him healthy is really the focus.”
Afterward, Cook said he had a "good" day. "Real good," he added. He went through individual drills and took scout-team reps in 11-on-11 work. He said he's about a week ahead of schedule. But will he play at Tennessee, the team that drafted him, on Sunday?
“I have no idea,” Cook said. “I think they kind of wanted to see how practice went today before they made that decision, so we’ll see.”
Starks struck a cautiously optimistic chord, as well.
"I take it like day-by-day, you know what I'm saying? I go out there and push," he said. "I know, being at the running back position, you've got a lot of things coming at you at once. You've got to be able to perform and help the team. Right now, I feel like I can do that."
Starks averaged only 1.8 yards per carry before the injury. However, he said he wasn't playing hurt before the surgery. Rather, the pain practically came out of nowhere following the Week 5 game against the Giants.
"It wasn't bothering me, even after the game," he said. "I came to practice, ran, nothing was wrong and then woke up on my day off, kind off seen swelling. Told the trainers and stuff as soon as I know, then we just got it checked out, it was kind of like it was messed up so I got it taken care of."
Cornerback Damarious Randall, who worked to the side with a trainer on Wednesday and officially was listed as not participating, took part in individual drills. He also was listed as limited.
As for Matthews, he was scheduled to work before practice to give the coaching and medical staffs an idea of his status. He has missed the last two games – and three of the last six -- with an injured hamstring. Matthews was hopeful of playing vs. Indianapolis but suffered a setback on Friday.
“Clay, hopefully he'll do more today and today will tell us a lot, based on how much he goes,” McCarthy said.
That he wound up not practicing certainly leaves his status in doubt for Sunday.
|WR Randall Cobb||Hamstring||Limited||Limited|
|TE Jared Cook||Ankle||Limited||Limited|
|DT Letroy Guion||Not injury related||DNP||Full|
|DB Micah Hyde||Shoulder||Limited||Limited|
|G T.J. Lang||Hip||DNP||Limited|
|OLB Clay Matthews||Hamstring||DNP||DNP|
|CB Damarious Randall||Groin||DNP||Limited|
|CB Quinten Rollins||Groin||Limited||Limited|
|RB James Starks||Knee||Limited||Limited|
|C J.C. Tretter||Knee||DNP||DNP|
|OT Jack Conklin||Elbow||Limited||Limited|
|RB Derrick Henry||Calf||DNP||DNP|
|S Rashad Johnson||Neck||Full||Full|
|RB DeMarco Murray||Foot||DNP||Limited|
|G Quinton Spain||Knee||Full||Full|
|TE Delanie Walker||Groin||Full||Full|
|LB Aaron Wallace||Shoulder||Full||Full|
Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PackerReport.