Barnett out, Hodge in for Monday

A broken hand will sideline middle linebacker Nick Barnett for Monday's game against Seattle. The Packers, however, will have the services of Brett Favre, and most likely left tackle Chad Clifton, too.

The Green Bay Packers will have the quarterback of their offensive available for Monday night's game at Seattle. They will be without, however, the quarterback of their defense.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy made it official on Saturday, saying quarterback Brett Favre would make his 232nd consecutive regular-season start against the Seahawks. However, McCarthy said middle linebacker Nick Barnett is out for the game because of his broken right hand and will be replaced by rookie Abdul Hodge.

Barnett hoped to participate in Saturday's practice, but some light hitting on Friday made the broken bone act up afterward, even though he was wearing a protective club.

"I went home and I thought everything was fine, (but) it was just throbbing," Barnett said. So, I came in this morning and talked to (team physician Pat McKenzie). He said just take it week by week, and he said it would heal up and it would be a lot less painful next week."

It will be the second game the fourth-year pro has missed in his career, and first since a sprained ankle kept him out of the Nov. 27, 2003, game against Detroit.

"The first week is always the toughest," McCarthy said. "The pain tolerance and the ability to get adjusted, the playing with the club, anybody that's ever played with a club, it's an adjustment. It just wasn't comfortable. He tried it yesterday. As we moved further into today, it just didn't look like it was going to happen."

Barnett, while disappointed his 49-game start streak will end, agreed with McCarthy's decision.

"If I'm going to be favoring that hand, using my left and not really hitting with (the right), it's going to hurt us more as a team than it would if I was still healthy."

Barnett's pain is Hodge's gain. The third-round pick, who opened eyes during training camp with his physical play against the run but was injured to open the season and has been limited to special-teams action, hasn't made a tackle on defense this season.

"It's definitely a big opportunity, but I'm not going to try to go out there and be Superman or anything," Hodge said. "I'm just going to go out there and play defense and play football and run around and get to the ball and hopefully make some plays."

As for Favre, teammates say the 37-year-old quarterback has looked sharp the past two days after getting the Thanksgiving holiday off. With him regaining feeling in his fingers after injuring the ulnar nerve in his throwing elbow last week against New England, McCarthy upgraded Favre to probable on the injury list.

"He looked good," McCarthy said. "He started to throw the ball better, feel a little more comfortable. I thought he had a solid day. He took more reps than normal. He'll be ready to go."

During his news conference Wednesday, Favre said he was worried he wouldn't regain all the feeling in his right hand in time for Monday's game, but McCarthy said Favre's condition has improved dramatically.

"He's throwing the ball a lot better than he did earlier in the week," McCarthy said. "He's not 100 percent comfortable, as far as it was in the past, but I think that's to be expected. We've got two more days, too. So, I do not anticipate any problems."

In more good news, left tackle Chad Clifton returned to practice, albeit in a limited basis. Clifton was added to the injured list on Friday, when he was held out of practice after aggravating an injured hamstring on Wednesday.

Right tackle Mark Tauscher, however, almost certainly will not play. While he hasn't been ruled out because of a groin injury, he didn't practice the last two days, and McCarthy talked as if Tauscher will be kept out of the lineup for a second straight week. If he cant play, rookie Tony Moll will get the start.

"I'm hopeful next week may be a possibility," McCarthy said. "Every time we talk, he's feeling better."

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