Higher hopes for Reynolds

No pain, big gain?<p>

Jamal Reynolds had knee surgery on Jan. 28 to remove flakes of cartilage from the trochlear groove in the femur (back of knee). Packers coach and general manager Mike Sherman said Reynolds' knee bothered him for most of last season, including the majority of training camp.

"They went in there and fixed that, and we're very optimistic," said Sherman.

Sherman has higher hopes this season for Reynolds, the No. 10 overall pick of the draft last year. Reynolds did not suit up for a game until Dec. 3 against Jacksonville. He finished with four tackles and two sacks in six games.

Reynolds was beaten out in training camp by Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, who finished with a team-high 13.5 sacks and 26 tackles. Gbaja-Biamila played behind starter John Thierry at ‘elephant' end opposite defensive end Vonnie Holliday. The Packers signed free agent Joe Johnson this off-season to replace Thierry, so Reynolds again will battle Gbaja-Biamila in training camp for playing time as a pass-rusher.

"We went in there (last year's NFL draft) to get a pass-rusher and felt that he was the best pass-rushing player for our needs, and also to be an ‘elephant' in our defense," Sherman said. "Obviously last year was disappointing for him as it was for us. I'm sure that it's going to get better. We fixed his knee. He's a bright-eyed, high-character individual. I'm sure he'll come off that and make some great gains this year."

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