Franks, Thomas still hurtin'

Tight end, cornerback haven't practiced this week

Bubba Franks may be a little too gimpy, and Joey Thomas too woozy to play in Sunday's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Lambeau Field. Neither the tight end nor cornerback have practiced with the team this week after both were injured in last Sunday's loss to the Cleveland Browns.

Franks is listed as questionable on the team's injury report, meaning there is a 50 percent chance that he will play Sunday. Thomas is listed as probable (75 percent chance of playing).

Franks has been nursing a badly bruised knee. He has yet to miss a game as a Packer, playing in 82 straight regular season games (88 including playoffs), but that streak is in jeopardy.

"He's doing well," Packers coach Mike Sherman said after practice today. "He's making some progress. I'll still list him as questionable. I'm not going to list him as doubtful just yet. He always makes a pitch to get on the field. We're hopeful that he'll turn the corner, but we'll list him as questionable."

If Franks is unable to play, David Martin will start and be backed up by Ben Steele and Donald Lee. Steele was re-signed by the Packers this week after getting released in the final cutdown on Sept. 3. Lee was signed by Green Bay on Sept. 6 after spending two previous seasons with the Miami Dolphins.

"I'm just preparing, like I do every week, to be the starter," said Martin. "You're only one play away from being the starter, so I'm preparing to be out there if (Franks) can't go."

Because of Franks' experience in the Packers' offense, he may be able to get by without practicing.

"I don't know if he has ever missed any practices in his career," Sherman said. "There are certain things he can do for us that he does best. I wouldn't have him do things that are foreign to him if he did play."

Though Thomas is listed as probable, it seems doubtful that he'll play. The cornerback was hit in the crown of his head by Browns running back Reuben Droughns while making a tackle. The blow gave him headaches during the game, and those headaches have recurred throughout the week. Like Franks, Thomas has been unable to practice, though, Sherman is optimistic that Thomas will play Sunday.

"He passed all his baseline testing. We feel confident he's going to be OK," Sherman said.

Playing, however, seems to be the furthest thing from Thomas' mind when he met with reporters in the locker room today. The second-year pro spoke slowly and it was very evident that he is probably sustained a concussion last Sunday.

Thomas was scheduled to undergo a catscan today in Green Bay.

"I do get headaches, but it is more or less like feeling real sleepy, real drowsy, not being able to focus all the time on everything," Thomas said. "I get headaches, but the headaches come and go, depending on what I'm doing or what's going on around me. It's just a constant feeling of being in and out of it. It's almost like you've been drinking, but you haven't been drinking. It's not a constant feeling. It's only sometimes, or when I do certain things, or get in certain light like this bright light (from a TV camera) right now is giving me a headache."

If Thomas is unable to play, he will be replaced by Ahmad Carroll at left cornerback. Carroll was placed on the injury report today as probable with an abdomin injury. He is expected to play.

Diggs to play
Sherman said he will decide on Saturday whether or not Na'il Diggs will be starting at strong-side linebacker on Sunday. Diggs practiced throughout the week with the team. He participated in a number of drills with starters Nick Barnett and Robert Thomas, so it appears that he will begin the game as a starter.

Diggs sustained a medial collateral ligament injury during a training camp practice on Aug. 8. He did not play in any preseason games nor the first two games of this season for the Packers.

Diggs has started 74 games for the Packers (80 including the playoffs) since 2000 when he was selected in the fourth round of the NFL draft by the Packers.

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