Butler Will Start, Schroeder '50-50'

Veteran safety LeRoy Butler, who suffered a bruised chest on Oct. 21 against Minnesota, is expected to start in his 114th straight regular season game Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But it doesn't seem likely that starting wide receiver Bill Schroeder, who has been nursing a sore ankle, will play.

Butler underwent chest X-rays early Friday after practicing on a tackling dummy Thursday, then practiced with the team as it prepared for the Buccaneers. Butler injured his chest in the first quarter of Green Bay's loss to Minnesota when tight end Byron Chamberlain fell on him.

Team doctors took X-rays of Butler's bruised chest to determine if there was any fluid built up, but the tests were negative. "Obviously (Bucs fullback) Mike Alstott is coming a lot faster and harder than that bag, but I think he'll be OK," said Packers coach Mike Sherman.

Butler's starting streak is the second longest on the Packers next to quarterback Brett Favre.

If Butler is unable to play, he will be replaced by rookie Bhawoh Jue, a cornerback who has been practicing at safety all week, and third-year pro Chris Akins.

"Both he and Chris Akins will do the job fine if LeRoy sustains an injury and can't go in the game," Sherman said.

Schroeder, the Packers' starter opposite Antonio Freeman, may miss his second straight game. He suffered a sprained against against Baltimore on Oct. 14, and saw his 37-game starting streak end when he was unable to suit up against the Vikings. Schroeder practiced on his own Friday, the third straight day that he did not participate in team drills.

"He's probably closer to 50-50 than 75-25," Sherman said.

If Schroeder is unable to play Sunday, there is a chance that the Packers will activate rookie second-round draft pick Robert Ferguson. Ferguson has yet to suit up this season. Against Minnesota, the Packers started Corey Bradford in place of Schroeder. Donald Driver was the No. 3 receiver and Charles Lee played behind Driver. Driver has been bothered by a bruised thigh, but he practiced with the team on Friday.

Reserve cornerback Tod McBride also sat out of Friday's practice because of a sore knee (patellar tendinitis) but Sherman said it was for precautionary measures and expects McBride to suit up on Sunday.


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