Gut-check time for banged-up Packers

Look for Gbaja-Biamila, Woodson to play against Cowboys

While cornerback Charles Woodson and defensive end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila are hurting, both players practiced today on a limited basis with the team and are questionable for Green Bay's showdown against the Dallas Cowboys, Coach Mike McCarthy told the media.

Whether Woodson or Gbaja-Biamila actually play depends on how they feel after treatment to their injuries over the next 50 hours, but the hunch here is look for both players to take the field.

After attending today's press conference and interviewing players in the locker room, the Packers may be much better off injury-wise than they originally thought after whipping the Lions 37-26 on Thanksgiving Day.

Woodson, a key player in Green Bay's defense, wasn't in the locker room today, but he didn't miss any games despite a similar turf toe injury in 2001 when he was with the Raiders. That was then and this is now, but it's a good indication of his ability to play with that type of injury. By the way, Woodson made the Pro Bowl that season as well, so he was able to play through the injury and play at a high level. Gbaja-Biamila told reporters that he is ready to go against the Cowboys. He sustained an ankle and knee sprain against Detroit, but should be ready to resume his pass-rushing role.

Also, McCarthy said that cornerback Will Blackmon took part in the full practice today, as did safety Nick Collins. Blackmon hasn't played since Sept. 30 after breaking a bone in his foot, but could be valuable as a punt returner Thursday night and as an extra back in the team's passing defenses. McCarthy said during his press conference that Collins, out with a knee injury since Nov. 4, will start ahead of Aaron Rouse, who participated on a limited basis after injuring his knee against Detroit.

It is clearly obvious that despite a number of players listed on Green Bay's injury report today, most of the key personnel will be suiting up for the showdown in Irving, Texas, which isn't a huge surprise. The Packers fully realize that home-field advantage throughout the playoffs is at stake, and they appear ready to give the Cowboys their best shot.

Here's a key stat to remember: In ten of the last 14 years, the team with the best record in the NFC went on to the Super Bowl. Does anything more need to be said about the importance of winning this game?

Less than 100 percent or not, look for the Packers to play Gbaja-Biamila and Woodson, and get help from others, like Collins and Blackmon, who have recently missed games due to injuries. Green Bay needs everyone to snap their hex in Dallas, and it looks like the Packers won't be holding anyone back, unless they truly have to, at kickoff.

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