Ferguson needs only doctor's OK

Robert Ferguson has been upgraded to questionable on the injury report for Sunday's playoff showdown against the Minnesota Vikings. That is not a typo.

Ferguson, less than three weeks after being temporarily paralyzed below the waist after suffering a vicious clothesline hit from Jaguars safety Donovin Darius, has a 50 percent chance of playing in the 3:30 p.m. Sunday showdown.

Still, the odds are not with Ferguson for suiting up Sunday. He has participated in segments of practices all week — more so on Friday than earlier in the week — but has not taken part in any contact drills.

"When he's laying there on the field, and you see him in the MRI machine, you're just hoping he's going to be OK as a person, not as a football player," Packers coach Mike Sherman said. "And you know, with Fergie, he just is a fast healer and a tough, tough kid. So, you just expect once he's back on his feet he's going to get out there somehow some way."

According to Sherman, Ferguson was promoted on the injury report because, from a football perspective, Sherman says Ferguson is ready to play. Sherman, however, says Ferguson's fate is in the medical staff's hands.

"There's nothing that he's going to be able to prove to us on the field that he didn't do today other than hit people," Sherman said. "I just need the doctors to say, ‘Yeah, he's OK to go.' If I can get that from the doctors, then we'll go in that direction. I would rely totally on them in regard to that because we're dealing with issues here that I'm certainly not qualified to address."

The more likely scenario for Ferguson is to watch Sunday from the sideline and then possibly play in a possible divisional playoff game next Saturday at Atlanta.

"It's pretty much up to the doctors and Coach Sherman," Ferguson said. "I did what I can do. I went out there and showed Coach Sherman what I could do as far as my physical status, running around catching the ball, listening to the plays and comprehending the plays and executing the plays. But I understand it's a very delicate situation and the coaches are going to be careful with it and not rush into anything."

Ferguson has not recovered 100 percent. Headaches stemming from the concussion remain a problem. More importantly, though, he has regained his strength in his extremities. After the hit, Ferguson lost feeling and movement in his legs for several minutes. For the following week, Ferguson lacked strength on the left side of his body.

"We wouldn't have put him back on the field if he had any numbness of lack of strength," Sherman said. "So, yeah, he's in pretty good shape right now."

Ferguson practiced Friday with a new helmet. Sherman did not allow Ferguson to wear a helmet earlier in the week for fear Ferguson would try to sneak into some 11-on-11, full-contact drills. Ferguson's usual helmet was broken on Darius' hit.

The new helmet includes a visor to help Ferguson combat his sensitivity to light.

"I got a visor with a little tint on it so it helped me out a lot once I started wear that. No headaches or anything like that, so the visor helped me out a lot."

Ferguson is anxious to play because he feels he has something to prove. After a breakout season of 43 catches for 593 yards and six touchdowns netted him a long-term contract extension during the off-season, Ferguson's numbers have dipped to 24 catches for 367 yards and just one touchdown.

"When you're down and you're thinking this is it, I might not walk again or whatever, you want to leave your mark on the game," Ferguson said. "You don't want to be one of those guys who just came in and played and never tapped into their talent. And I feel I haven't tapped into my talent at all right now."


Backup quarterback Craig Nall suffered a doozy of a welt on his right (throwing) elbow when he knocked it against the face mask of defensive end Aaron Kampman. Nall has been playing the last half of the season with a splint on the middle finger after injuring it against the back of an offensive lineman.

"It didn't give me any problems throwing. Just discomfort, that's all it is. It's no worse than this," Nall said, alluding to his finger injury. Nall said he continued to practice despite the elbow injury.

Only two players did not practice Friday: safety Michael Hawthorne and nose tackle Grady Jackson. Hawthorne aggravated his hamstring on Thursday and Jackson hasn't practiced at all during the second half of the season to rest his ailing left knee.


Minnesota Vikings

OUT (no chance of playing) S Corey Chavous (elbow)

QUESTIONABLE (50 percent chance of playing) — WR Kelly Campbell (shoulder)

PROBABLE (75 percent chance of playing) — CB Terrance Shaw (ribs)

— Only Chavous missed Friday's practice.


Green Bay Packers

QUESTIONABLE — WR Robert Ferguson (head/neck)

PROBABLE — RB Najeh Davenport (shoulder); TE Bubba Franks (knee); S Michael Hawthorne (hamstring); DT Grady Jackson (knee); RB Vonta Leach (shin/ankle); LB Paris Lenon (elbow)

— Hawthorne and Jackson missed Friday's practice

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