Favre: Hand may never be healthy

Brett Favre's bum thumb will remain an issue. Not just for the Minnesota game in two weeks. Not just for the rest of the season. For the rest of his career.

Asked if he'd ever play with a 100 percent healthy right hand, Favre told reporters Tuesday: "I'm beginning to think no."

The good news is the latest setback to Favre's hand is just a sprained right thumb, not a broken right thumb, as happened in the game before the bye about a year ago.

"I got my thumb banged a bit — not near as bad — but it is a little tighter than normal. The bye week will come in handy," said Favre, who entered the Washington game with a sprained hand suffered the week before against Dallas.

Favre hopes to come out of the bye feeling better physically. He enters the bye feeling better emotionally. After a 1-4 start, Favre admitted feeling a sense of despair. Three straight wins to get back to .500 and in the thick of the NFC North race, as you'd expect, have breathed new life into the standout signal-caller.

"I would much rather go into the bye 8-0 or 7-1," Favre said. "But I would much rather go in winning three, as opposed to winning the first three and then having a down spell.

"It makes it a little easier to kind of get away from (football). If we were 4-1 at one point and then lost three straight going into the bye week, I would be just kicking myself and wanting to play right away (and saying), ‘How can we turn this around?'"

That feeling is a far cry from what he felt three weeks ago as the Packers were being pounded 48-27 on "Monday Night Football" by Tennessee. The defense was demolished in that game — allowing the most points by an opponent in Lambeau Field history — forcing Favre to throw it on practically every play. That led to six Packers turnovers, including three Favre interceptions and yet another Ahman Green fumble.

It was a disaster on every level. The situation looked hopeless.

"Everything that could go wrong went wrong," Favre said. "As I'm watching the game, I'm going, ‘How will this team rebound? Is it possible?' Because there were mistakes. It was like a college team playing a pro team at times. I couldn't believe it."

With the Packers' backs "against the wall so far that they had splinters," in coach Mike Sherman's words, Green Bay suddenly turned its season around. The Packers crushed the Lions — in Detroit, of all places — to trigger the current three-game winning streak.

"... you watch the last three games, and you go, ‘That's pretty good,'" Favre said. "A dramatic change in certain areas. ... The last three weeks have been what I expect out of this football team."

Indeed. The Packers beat Detroit by 28, Dallas by 21 and Washington by 14. Now comes the bye and then the long-expected/surprising showdown against Minnesota.

The Packers-Vikings clashes were expected to decide the division championship, but as the Packers started 1-4 to Minnesota's 3-1, the Packers looked all-but eliminated from the division race by mid-October. Now, with Green Bay's winning streak, Minnesota's upset home loss to the Giants and its Monday night game at high-powered Indianapolis, the Packers could be playing for a share of first place in the North on Nov. 14.

Favre will be ready, bad thumb or not.

"I'm sure it will help," Favre said of the bye healing his ailing hand. "But I would play this Sunday if we had a game. I would play today if we had a game. And I would expect to play the way I normally do."

— Along with Favre, 11 players were held out of Tuesday's practice, the next-to-last before the players are set free for four days to recharge mentally and physically.

On the sideline were starters Ahman Green, Javon Walker, Marco Rivera, Darren Sharper, Al Harris, Grady Jackson and Hannibal Navies, along with reserves Najeh Davenport, Paris Lenon and James Lee.

— The Packers again released safety Curtis Fuller. Fuller, released on the final roster cutdown, was signed last week to provide depth behind the injured Sharper. He played some in the dime defense as well as on special teams but was not involved in any tackles. Fuller, a fourth-year player, participated in nine games last season, making five tackles.

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