Road to recovery

Veteran cornerback Al Harris will be allowed to do some conditioning work beginning Monday as he begins his recovery from a lacerated spleen.

It's a long way from playing bump-and-run coverage against the best receivers in the NFL, but Al Harris will get back to work on Monday.

The Green Bay Packers' veteran cornerback, who suffered a lacerated spleen last week against Dallas, was told to take the week off to let the healing process begin. On Monday, he'll be allowed to do some no-impact conditioning work to stay in shape for what he and the team hope will be a late-season comeback.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy on Friday said there's no timetable for Harris to get back on the field, though he said it would be at least three or four weeks. Tests taken in the coming weeks will dictate whether Harris can step up the intensity of his workouts.

That's clearly good news. When then-Buccaneers quarterback Chris Simms injured his spleen, he needed the organ removed, a procedure that sidelined him for the final 13 games of 2006 and all of 2007.

"I think everybody was nervous on Tuesday when it really came to light exactly what was wrong with Al," McCarthy said. "At first, you have to worry about him personally. Just the number of conversations that Al and I had throughout Monday, it was tough to see someone go through what he was going through, not ever been hurt and really not feeling like he shouldn't be able to play."

Barring a setback, Harris, who will miss the first game of his NFL career on Sunday at Tampa Bay, will not need surgery.

"Just glad it's not anything that could be life-threatening or as serious as it possibly could be," McCarthy said.

Replacing Harris will be Tramon Williams, with Will Blackmon stepping into the nickel role and rookie Pat Lee playing special teams and possibly getting some snaps in the dime.

"These guys need to perform," McCarthy said.

Bill Huber is editor of Packer Report and E-mail him at

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