Franks a key in running game

Tight end still bothered by knee injury; may not play Sunday

Bubba Franks says he's never missed a football game at any level, going back to his high school days in Big Spring, Texas. However, there's at least a 50-percent chance the three-time Pro Bowler will be out Sunday when the winless Packers host Tampa Bay.

Franks is smarting from a bruised left knee suffered while being gang-tackled after making a catch midway through the fourth quarter of last Sunday's loss to Cleveland. He has yet to practice this week and is no better than questionable to play this weekend.

The impact of not having Franks would be felt more with the Packers' struggling run game against the Buccaneers' top-rated rush defense.

"He's a bigger threat blocking than he is receiving," QB Brett Favre said Wednesday.

If Franks can't recover in time for Sunday, the Packers will be considerably thin from not only a blocking but a pass-catching standpoint at tight end. They re-signed Ben Steele on Wednesday to fortify the depth chart behind David Martin and Donald Lee.

Franks plays a key role in the team's U-71 run package where he lines up between tackles Mark Tauscher and Kevin Barry. The Packers have had success in the past running behind that trio.

Packer Report Top Stories