D-linemen still ailing

Jackson, Hunt sidelined by injuries

Defensive tackles Grady Jackson and Cletidus Hunt are almost back and ready to participate in team drills, but not quite yet. The two again worked out individually Tuesday inside the Packers' indoor training facility while the rest of the team practiced outside on Clarke Hinkle Field.

Hunt and Jackson have missed the majority of training camp practices. Hunt participated in the first week of practices, but has been bothered by a shoulder injury and tendinitis in both knees. Jackson is recovering from off-season knee surgery.

The two were starters for the Packers last year. Both are not expected to play this Friday when the Packers host the New England Patriots in a preseason game at Lambeau Field, but Coach Mike Sherman indicated that they will be ready for the preseason finale Sept. 1 at Tennessee.

Jackson is still listed on the team's physically unable to perform list. He will have to pass the team's physical before he can begin practicing.

"He's not going to play in this game anyway, so there is no sense on taking him off of PUP," Sherman said. "We'll continue to work him inside (the Don Hutson Center) and I'm hoping that on Sunday he'll be able to come out here. He's headed in that direction. He did a good job today. He moved around pretty good for what we asked him to do. I went inside for part of it. He's not ready for this week because he hasn't practiced much. Hopefully he'll be ready for Tennessee and be ready for that first ballgame against Detroit." The Packers were conservative with Jackson during training camp last season. The 340-pound tackle then sustained a dislocated left kneecap on the third play from scrimmage. Jackson missed the next five games and wound up playing in 10 regular season games overall.

Sherman dismissed the idea that the team might be too conservative with Jackson this year. Jackson was held out of a number of practices in training camp last year after off-season knee surgery.

"That doesn't play into it," Sherman said. "When he's ready to go, I'm going to put him on the field."

Jackson took on some double-team blocks and ran individual drills inside the Hutson Center today. He said he felt good afterward.

"I just want to get out there and help out," Jackson said. "I feel a lot better. My body doesn't feel as beat up."

Hunt also was limited in practice because of his aching knees and shoulder.

Hunt is in jeopardy of losing his starting job to James Lee or Donnell Washington. Hunt skipped the team's June minicamp and has underperformed since signing a $25 million contract ($6 million bonus) in the off-season of 2003. Still, he believes that he'll step into the starting rotation when he returns.

"I've got enough confidence to believe that when I get back out there healthy, I'll be in the starting lineup," Hunt said.

Hunt is entering his seventh season with the Packers. He played in all 16 regular season games last year and made 14 starts.

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