Packers get holiday break

Seahawks' Hasselbeck takes snaps in holiday practice, preparing to start

Packers coach Mike McCarthy wouldn't have minded being involved in a Thanksgiving Day game Thursday. Better to get back out there right away after a 35-0 loss to New England on Sunday, his thinking was, than to let the humiliating defeat linger for an entire week.

Yet, since the Packers don't play again until Monday night at Seattle, McCarthy did what he felt was the next best therapeutic thing for his wounded team. He called off practice Thursday, allowing players and coaches an opportunity to spend the holiday with family and friends.

"I think this extra day is more important for us from a physical standpoint because we do have a number of guys that are nicked and injured," McCarthy said. "But, mentally, I wish we had probably two days shorter so we can get out there and play again. This extra day will really help us to get the health of our football team in better shape."

With the longer week, taking Thursday off shouldn't disrupt the team's preparations for the Seahawks, who practiced on the holiday. The Packers had their regular Wednesday workout. They will transfer their Thursday routine to Friday and their Friday routine to Saturday to close the week.

The extra time between games should help Green Bay recoup several of the 12 players it has on the injury report, none more prominent than quarterback Brett Favre.

Favre's streak of 251 straight starts (regular season and playoffs) is on the line because of a bruised right elbow that knocked him out of the last game. He didn't practice Wednesday and is questionable for Monday. Though Favre had yet to regain full feeling and strength in his throwing hand from damage to the ulnar nerve in the elbow, he was optimistic Wednesday that he would be ready for the game.

McCarthy said Favre would be re-evaluated this morning before a decision is made on whether to have him practice later in the day. The aim is to have Favre practice Saturday so he has at least one day to test his effectiveness with the hand, which he admitted Wednesday is a concern.

Newly signed Todd Bouman and rookie Ingle Martin split the reps in practice Wednesday and are being prepped for action Monday in case the elbow injury continues to give Favre problems. Bouman, a nine-year veteran, most likely would be first off the bench after the team lost Aaron Rodgers to a season-ending broken foot in the last game.

Hasselbeck practices again, preparing to start
Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck worked with the starting unit again Thursday, virtually assuring he'll start against Green Bay on Monday night. Hasselbeck has missed the past four games with a knee injury that could have been worse.

"I'd never had a knee injury before, but it was obvious to me immediately that it was really bad," Hasselbeck said. "Not only did I feel it, but it also made a really loud pop, like a 'pop' sound.

"And really, I feel very fortunate that it was only what it was, MCL sprain, grade 2, and I feel very fortunate that's all that was."

Hasselbeck made it clear after the injury that he felt Vikings linebacker E.J. Henderson had taken a cheap shot by slamming into his knee well after Hasselbeck had thrown a pass.

Hasselbeck said he learned a lesson from the play, namely that he can't relax on the field at any time. Coach Mike Holmgren never came out and accused Henderson of dirty play, but his comments this week made it clear he agrees with his quarterback.

"If you see pictures of the play, he released the ball and was just standing there," Holmgren said. "It was a very unusual play because normally, when those types of injuries occur, they're kind of bang-bang plays, and this happened, there was quite a bit of time from when he released the ball and the time he got hit."

Not enough time for a fine, however. The league did not punish Henderson. Officials did not flag him for the hit. They apparently determined that Seattle fullback Mack Strong had pushed Henderson into Hasselbeck's legs. Replays seemed inconclusive.

The priority now is to make sure Hasselbeck can move well enough to avoid trouble in a game. He could not do that last week. He looks much better in practice this week.

"I still have some more time, but I was encouraged by practice and I know it is not going to feel any worse, so we have to keep fighting through it and I think it will be good to go by Monday," he said.

Hasselbeck is also trying to get back into the leadership role that comes with being the starter. He thinks some teammates aren't practicing the right way. He thinks they need a reminder.

"When I say something like that, I am really just repeating what I hear the coaches saying," Hasselbeck said. "I am not sure if everyone hears what they are saying all the time. We are all in the same meeting, but sometimes when you have been with a coach a long time, you understand what he is saying.

"The guys that have been around understand a little better what he is talking about when he says, 'Hey, we're setting the standard high.' I do wonder if everyone is understanding that really, and I think it is the job of the guys who have been here to let everybody know, 'Hey, we're not in this just to be OK; we're in this to be great.'

"The way we are practicing may or may not get it done."

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