McCarthy hopes bye brings health

His beat-up football team will get a much-needed five-day break.

Asked if there's a good chance his team will return from this week's bye in good health, Packers coach Mike McCarthy smiled and said, "That's what I told the doctor."

Even with back-to-back wins, including Sunday's 34-14 thrashing of the Indianapolis Colts, the bye is coming at a good time for the Packers, who have been plagued by injuries since training camp. On Sunday, for instance, the Packers were without three defensive starters (Cullen Jenkins, Al Harris, Atari Bigby), another barely played (A.J. Hawk), they were down to their fourth choice at right defensive end, their quarterback was again playing with a gimpy throwing shoulder and their No. 3 receiver missed a second consecutive game.

The players will convene on Tuesday to review film from the Colts game, participate in a league-mandated life-skills program and get their bye-week workout programs, then be let loose until Monday, when they begin preparations for the Nov. 2 game at undefeated Tennessee. McCarthy considered having a practice on Wednesday but decided against it after meeting with the team's medical staff.

"But really as a football team, the most important thing, (trainers and doctors) feel, is a number of these guys just need rest," McCarthy said. "Every injury is different, but the goal is to have the majority of the football team come off of this bye healthy, and that will start with Monday's practice."

Only one player sustained a noteworthy injury against the Colts: rookie defensive end Jeremy Thompson, who went down with a stinger. McCarthy anticipates Thompson being ready when practice resumes next week.

In other injury updates:

Aaron Rodgers: Rodgers' shoulder underwent tests on Monday, and McCarthy said the feedback was positive. The team will decide next week whether Rodgers will resume a normal practice schedule after barely throwing outside of game days the last three weeks. "He's one of the players that really just needs to rest. He needs to let the shoulder settle down," McCarthy said.

Charles Woodson: While Woodson's broken toe certainly can use a break, McCarthy wasn't sure if it would be enough time to heal. The prognosis depends on how the toe came out of Sunday's game, and McCarthy had not received an update.

Ryan Pickett: Thanks in large part to a ball-controlling offense, the beat-up defensive tackle played only 22 snaps against the Colts, but was "struggling" late in the game even under that limited workload. That's half the snaps he had been playing, good news considering his strained triceps and knee tendinitis. Pickett played with a harness on the triceps, and McCarthy wasn't sure whether the break would allow Pickett to play without restrictions.

A.J. Hawk: Hawk, a fixture in the defensive lineup since being taken with the fifth overall pick of the 2006 draft, played just a handful of snaps against the Colts. Hawk has been playing with a strained groin, and with the Colts spending almost the entire game with three receivers and the Packers' defense lining up with five defensive backs, Brandon Chillar and Nick Barnett got the vast majority of the linebacker reps. After the game, Hawk said the injury was fine. "In hindsight, it was a good move that A.J. didn't have to play as much this week," McCarthy said.

Al Harris: Harris, out since lacerating his spleen in the Week 3 loss to Dallas, went through individual drills last week. He hasn't been cleared by doctors to be a full participant at practice, but McCarthy said he was "hopeful" that would happen so Harris could practice next week. McCarthy wouldn't speculate on whether Harris would rejoin the starting lineup immediately.

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

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