OTA notebook: Knee surgery for KGB

Arthroscopic surgery should have him ready for training camp. Also, Charles Woodson appears after being absent last week.

With much of the focus of Thursday's organized team activities practice on Aaron Kampman and the Iowa tornado, the biggest on-the-field news was the revelation defensive end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila had arthroscopic knee surgery on Thursday.

According to Packers coach Mike McCarthy, Gbaja-Biamila had been bothered by a sore knee throughout the offseason, and getting the procedure done now would help assure he's back in time for training camp.

"It's something that, he's not a young puppy anymore, and it's something that's kind of been bothering him of late," McCarthy said. "(Team doctor Pat McKenzie) thought it was best to do it now." Getting back in time and being healthy for camp are vital for KGB, who with his age and salary could be fighting for a roster spot, especially if fourth-round pick Jeremy Thompson impresses in a pass-rushing role.

Meanwhile, the loss of KGB is another hit to a depleted defensive line group that was already without defensive tackles Justin Harrell (back surgery), Johnny Jolly (shoulder), Colin Cole (forearm) and Daniel Muir (pectoral). The absence of those four is why starting defensive end Cullen Jenkins is playing defensive tackle with the No. 1 defense.

Here, gone

Unsigned running back Ryan Grant, linebacker Nick Barnett and cornerback Al Harris were among those absent. One player who was there was cornerback Charles Woodson, who did not participate last week but was in Green Bay frequently in February and March.

"It's great to have him back here working," McCarthy said.

As for Harris, McCarthy didn't seem the least bit worried by his absence for a second consecutive week.

"I talked to Al last week. As far as the exact days and so forth, I don't have that ironed out yet," McCarthy said. "We'll see what happens. They are voluntary. I know you guys like to do the roll call."

No reason was given for Barnett being absent, though McCarthy said it was not injury related.

"Time will tell," McCarthy said when asked if he expects Barnett back for future OTAs. "I guess we'll see next Wednesday. Nick has been here."

Up front

With left tackle Chad Clifton working out on the side rather than competing to keep his knees fresh, the starting offensive line consisted of Orrin Thompson at left tackle, Allen Barbre at left guard, Scott Wells at center, Jason Spitz at right guard and Mark Tauscher at right tackle.

"Every rep is valuable, every position, especially for someone in Orrin's case," McCarthy said. "It's his time. He was someone who was on our 53 for part of the season last year, and he's a player that I'm excited about. He improves every opportunity that he gets. This is a big season for him, and a big offseason."

On the other side of the all, the starting defensive line was Aaron Kampman and Michael Montgomery at ends Ryan Pickett and Jenkins at tackle. With Barnett absent, second-year player Desmond Bishop was the starting middle linebacker. Tramon Williams replaced Harris at starting cornerback.

Grant update

As was the case last week, unsigned running back Ryan Grant was at camp but not participating. Grant's agent and general manager Ted Thompson have acknowledged talks leading toward a long-term extension have taken place.

"I haven't even talked to Ted about it," McCarthy said. "It's a business situation. Ryan Grant and the head coach have a very good relationship. He's done everything that we've asked, outside of his business situation, or whatever you want to call it. I think it will be resolved, and both sides are in conversation. So I'm not concerned about it."

Steve Lawrence is a frequent contributor to PackerReport.com. E-mail him at steve_lawrence_packers@yahoo.com

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