Wells front and center

Facing their biggest challenge of the season, the Green Bay Packers will be down a member in their starting offensive line Sunday against Jacksonville.

Packers offensive line coach Larry Beightol on Friday said rookie seventh-round pick Scott Wells will start for Grey Ruegamer for the second consecutive week. Ruegamer's sprained left ankle has recovered but not fully enough.

"The thing with an ankle injury like that is if he gets it hurt again, then he's probably finished for the year," Beightol said.

Packers coach Mike Sherman wasn't quite as sure about Ruegamer's status, saying he'd make the final decision on Saturday. Sherman, however, said Ruegamer wasn't 100 percent healthy, and that is the standard they've been using all week while trying to decide on who'd play against the Jaguars' stellar defensive tackle combo of John Henderson and Marcus Stroud. Ruegamer and Wells had been splitting snaps with the first-team offense this week.

"If (Wells) does play, he certainly has his work cut out for him," Sherman said in reference to Henderson and Stroud.

Meanwhile, linebacker Na'il Diggs was downgraded from probable to questionable on the updated injury list. Diggs, who is recovering from a bruised kidney suffered against Philadelphia that left him hospitalized for a couple days, hasn't participated in the 11-on-11 team segments all week, nor has he hit anyone.

"He has to feel comfortable," Sherman said of Diggs, who has a sore back as well.

Diggs does not feel comfortable. That was obvious when he got a taste of practice, he said Friday. "The pain is still there. I'm one to play in pain, but what I felt yesterday is something I couldn't play with," Diggs said, adding, "I think I'd be hurting us more than contributing." Assuming Diggs doesn't make a miraculous recovery, Paris Lenon will get the start. Lenon made 10 tackles against the Lions last week.

"I thought Paris played well," Sherman said. "He's not Na'il Diggs. Na'il Diggs in our defense is a difference-maker. But Paris is a guy who comes to work every day, gives you everything he has and I thought he played very well, made a lot of tackles, (with) very few mistakes. He's someone you can depend on.

Lenon said getting the start against Detroit has him prepared for Sunday's game, which the Packers desperately need to win as they fight to stay in control of the NFC North.

"Any time you can play a lot of snaps, it's helpful. You learn a lot from that," Lenon said.

Backup offensive tackle Kevin Barry, who so capably plays as an extra lineman on the U-71 formation, did not practice, either, and is in danger of not playing. He sprained his thigh against the Eagles and missed last week's game against Detroit. He will be tested Saturday before Sherman makes a decision. Brad Bedell was praised by Sherman for his play against Detroit.

Also not practicing was nose tackle Grady Jackson as he rests a sore knee. He's expected to start, though.

Not so certain is the availability of backup safety Michael Hawthorne, who was added to the injury list Friday. Hawthorne suffered some nerve damage when he was kicked in the shin Thursday.

Below is the updated injury report from the NFL.


OUT: TE George Wrighster (back)

DOUBTFUL: CB Juran Bolden (quadricep)

PROBABLE: RB David Allen (quadricep); S Deke Cooper (groin); S Deon Grant (knee); WR Jimmy Smith (ankle); DT Marcus Stroud (knee)

Bolden, Cooper and Wrighster did not practice in the team session of Friday's practice.


QUESTIONABLE: T Kevin Barry (quadricep); LB Na'il Diggs (back/kidney)

PROBABLE: T Chad Clifton (hamstring); S Michael Hawthorne (shin); DT Grady Jackson (knee); LB Nick Rogers (knee); C Grey Ruegamer (ankle)

Barry, Diggs, Hawthorne and Jackson did not practice in the team session of Friday's practice.

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