Grave Digger ready to rise

GREEN BAY – Mt. Gilbert is ready to loom large over the San Francisco running game Sunday in the teams' NFC wildcard showdown at Lambeau Field.<p> Massive defensive tackle Gilbert Brown, who missed five games during the regular season with thigh, toe and foot injuries, appears to be ready to play Sunday.<p> The 335-pound run-stuffing tackle has been inactive for four of the past five games, including the last two.<p>

"He's working with (conditioning coach) Barry Rubin with some extra conditioning," said Packers head coach Mike Sherman. "He's practicing today, and doing some extra stuff like treadmills and bikes. His conditioning is a concern."

Sherman hopes Brown can be in between 20 and 25 plays against the 49ers, who feature a two-headed rushing threat in veteran Garrison Hearst and rookie Kevan Barlow.

"We're going to try and do that," Sherman said.

Brown last played Dec. 23 against the Cleveland Browns and did not make any tackles. He had two tackles against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Dec. 3 in a 28-21 Packers win on Monday Night Football.

Brown, who was an integral part of the 1996 and 1997 Packers teams that went to Super Bowls, missed the entire 2000 season while trying to lose weight. He came to training camp after losing about 60 pounds, and started the first eight games of the season.

He gashed his tight and missed the Nov. 18 game against the Atlanta Falcons. He returned and started two more games before suffering turf toe. He was inactive in four of the last five games. He has made 25 tackles this season, and does not have a sack.


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