Packers injury update

Franks likely to return against Panthers

Tight end Bubba Franks, who missed his first game as a Green Bay Packer Sunday with a knee injury, likely will return to the lineup Monday night against the Carolina Panthers. Franks suffered a badly bruised knee Sept. 18 against the Cleveland Browns, but is is expected to return to practice later this week, Packers coach Mike Sherman said today.

Cornerbacks Ahmad Carroll (knee) and Joey Thomas (head), wide receiver Donald Driver (ankle), guard Will Whitticker (knee), and defensive end Aaron Kampman (thigh) also are on Green Bay's mid-week injury report. All five are expected to play against the Panthers, though, Carroll sustained a bone bruise "similar" to Franks' injury, Sherman said.

Thomas returned to practice Wednesday. He sustained a concussion Sept. 18 against the Browns while making a tackle on running back Rueben Droughns. Thomas did not suit up against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last Sunday. He said today that the headaches that bothered him for most of last week have gone away.

"I'm feeling good health-wise, I don't have any headaches," Thomas said. "So far, so good. I think the headaches and dizzyness is behind me. I'm ready to move forward and play football."

An magnetic resonance imaging test taken last week on Franks knee revealed no cartilage or ligament damage. Franks was injured after he was gang-tackled on a 10-yard pass reception. The injury forced Franks to miss his first NFL game of his six-year career (82 games, 88 including the playoffs).

"Anything that kept him out of a game I have concern about," said Sherman, "because the guy is tough as nails and doesn't miss anything. I have concern, but I also know that he's doing everything he can to get well and get back on the field. Fortunately, we have a later start this week. That extra day is huge for us in trying to get guys healthy."

The last time Franks missed any kind of game was at Big Spring (Texas) High School, and it was in basketball. Frustrated during a practice, Franks kicked a wall and injured his foot, sidelining him for the next game.

Franks played in every high school football game, and in all 34 games (36 including bowl games) at the University of Miami.

Packers coach Mike Sherman said Kampman and Driver, who were both injured against the Buccaneers, could have practiced Wednesday, but because the next game is on Monday, he is playing it cautious. "If they had to play today they probably could play," Sherman said. "I think it's in our best interest to sit those two down."

Whitticker took part in Wednesday's practice and is expected to start at right guard on Monday night.


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