Packers need Green now more than ever

Ahman Green is back. He's still a little sore from the whack he took to his right leg earlier this month against the Carolina Panthers. But he's back, and that's the good news. Look for Green to play in this Sunday's game at Minnesota as the Packers try to resurrect their once potent running game.

Green practiced for the second time this week Wednesday and was expected to practice today. He's listed as questionable on the team's injury report, but it would be a surprise to not see him in uniform in the Metrodome. The Packers need Green now more than ever, especially with Najeh Davenport out the rest of the season with a broken ankle.

Green sat out of Green Bay's Oct. 9 game against New Orleans, nursing his bruised right knee and strained quadriceps tendon. He sustained the injuries while getting tackled during the Packers' Oct. 3 loss at Carolina.

Without Davenport, the Packers are down to role player Tony Fisher and street free agent Rashard Lee as the team's only two healthy running backs. In order for Brett Favre to do his thing through the air, the Packers have to get more out of their rushing attack, which is ranked near the bottom of the NFL. An average of 77.8 yards per game isn't going to cut it if the Packers somehow want to put themselves in contention to win the NFC North Division this season.

Coach Mike Sherman said that the plan with Green is to "gradually take him along" into the Minnesota game. As soon as Green gets close to 100 percent, the Packers will feed him the ball as much as possible, Sherman said. "I do anticipate him carrying the football when he's playing, maybe more so than he has," Sherman said. "That has been the case (in the past). As we get deeper into the season, his history has been he has had more carries."

Getting Green back on at least on a part-time basis Sunday is key for the Packers, if they want to get out of the division cellar. Green will be important to the Packers, especially in the Metrodome where ugly things happen to Brett Favre on an annual basis. Of the last 13 previous visits to the Metrodome, there have only been two games in which Favre hasn't thrown an interception. The Packers won both of those games, in 1997 and 2000.

Fisher has started only one game in his three-plus years with the team, primarily confined to a role as a third-down back. Sherman acknowledged that Lee, who was with Dallas last year, is "an unknown commodity." Lee stayed in Green Bay over the bye week to cram on the Packers' offense.

The Packers figure to have a greater dependency on Green the rest of the season, provided he can stay on the field. Green has gained all of 206 yards in 61 carries and doesn't have a touchdown this season. As the offensive line progresses, so should Green's numbers. The Packers need that to start this Sunday.

Todd Korth

Todd Korth is managing editor of E-mail him at

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