Davenport gets back in gear

While the tally of Packers sitting out practices with an array of hopefully minor injuries grew to an even dozen, one name has disappeared from that list. Fullback Najeh Davenport demonstrated enough progress with his broken foot to return to practice Tuesday. The rookie is just glad to be back.<P>

Davenport broke the fifth metatarsal bone in his left foot late in his senior season with the National champion Miami Hurricanes. The Packers selected Davenport in the fourth round of this year's draft, knowing that he would probably miss the team's mini-camps. Already, Davenport has impressed with his speed and blocking in his relatively few training camp appearances.

Finally back in action Tuesday, Davenport enjoyed a solid practice and moved well enough to spur talk of starting in Monday's prime-time preseason affair with Cleveland.

"That's what I've been waiting for," said Davenport. "Monday Night Football – you've got to love it."

Davenport participated in drills, including the team portions. His reps were cut down as part of the plan to get him healthy. The foot has not responded to rest, and surgery is not called for, so the plan now calls for a gradual return to action.

"I'm not going to stress him too far on that foot, but he was out here this morning returning kickoffs (and he) looked very good, very fast," Sherman said. "He did a good job of blocking here (in the afternoon practice). He was a little bit rusty on some things.

"We're going to just take it a day at a time and try to bring him along. I'm confident it will work that way, I hope it does," said Sherman, adding that there was a "good chance" Davenport would be able to play in Monday night's preseason home opener.

With the progress the Packers expect between now and their Sept. 8 regular season opener, Davenport is likely to secure a spot as backup to starting fullback William Henderson. If Davenport cannot return, tight end Bill Seymour could be moved to fullback temporarily.

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