Poppinga to get first start

Rookie linebacker stepping in for Diggs on strong-side

Linebacker Brady Poppinga will make his first pro start Sunday against the Detroit Lions, Packers coach Mike Sherman said today. Poppinga is starting ahead of veteran Na'il Diggs, who has been bothered by MCL injuries in both knees this season.

Poppinga lined up at the strong-side spot with the first-string defense this week in practice ahead of Diggs, who missed the last game and has been plagued by knee problems since the preseason. Diggs practiced this week and is listed as questionable for Sunday's game.

"Everybody has their time, whether it be early or late, and this is my time," said Poppinga said about starting.

Poppinga's playing time has gradually increased over recent games. He leads the Packers in special teams tackles with 21. He has five total tackles and two sacks as a reserve at linebacker.

Outside linebacker Robert Thomas didn't practice this week and is not expected to play Sunday. The weak-side starter aggravated a strained quadriceps early in the last game. Paris Lenon is expected to start against Detroit. Lenon practiced this week with the broken index finger of his right hand in a cast. He suffered the injury on the second play of the second half in the last game against Chicago and didn't play the rest of the way.

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