No Taylor would mean more Jones-Drew

Veteran Jacksonville running back Fred Taylor, the 16th-leading rusher in NFL history, may wind up on injured reserve because of an injured thumb.

Fred Taylor, the Jacksonville Jaguars' veteran halfback, says his left thumb has "strained, torn ligaments," leaving his availability for Sunday's game against the Packers in question and the rest of this season in doubt.

Asked if he might be destined to land on season-ending injured reserve, Taylor said he's getting a second opinion and trying to determine if he can get by with a device to keep the thumb safe.

Taylor, an 11th-year pro who ranks 16th in NFL history with 11,271 rushing yards, was injured during last week's loss at Chicago.

If Taylor is out or limited, the Packers will see a heavier dose of explosive Maurice Jones-Drew. The 5-foot-7 third-year pro, who has split carries with Taylor this season, has team highs of 607 rushing yards and 11 rushing touchdowns. His average of 4.3 yards per carry this season is down from his career mark of 4.9.

He's also a big-time threat as a receiver with 50 catches for 462 yards and another touchdown. The Packers, on the other hand, have the 27th-ranked run defense and have struggled to handle receiving running backs all season.

"Jones-Drew, you might say he's short in stature but he's extremely powerful, fast, agile," Packers defensive end Aaron Kampman said.

The Jaguars lost both of their starting guards during the season opener and placed starting fullback Greg Jones (ankle) on injured reserve this week. They are three of a whopping 12 Jaguars who are on injured reserve. Taylor would rather not join them.

"I want to finish (this season) because this is the time when everybody is dropping like flies, have been all season," Taylor told reporters in Jacksonville. "I don't want to be on that list, a part of a statistic, No. 1. No. 2, when it is tough, me personally, I want to be the guy out there leading the fight."

The 32-year-old Taylor has rushed for 556 yards, a 3.9-yard average and one touchdown. It's a far cry from last year, when he rushed for 1,202 yards — his seventh 1,000-yard season.

Taylor and receiver Jerry Porter (groin) are the key names on the Jaguars' injured list for this week. If Taylor is out, Chauncey Washington or Montell Owens would be Jones-Drew's primary backup, Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio said.

The Packers, meanwhile, already have ruled out safety Atari Bigby (shoulder), and coach Mike McCarthy said it will "be a challenge" for starting fullback Korey Hall (knee) to play.

Hall and defensive tackle Justin Harrell (hip) did not participate on Wednesday, and linebackers Brandon Chillar (groin) and Danny Lansanah (arm, ankle), defensive tackle Ryan Pickett (illness), defensive end Jeremy Thompson (ankle) and cornerback Charles Woodson (toe) were limited.

Harrell, McCarthy said, "has had a bothersome hip the last couple weeks, and it really has gotten to a point where Dr. McKenzie felt we needed to shut him down today and (Thursday), and we will test him on Friday."

With Bigby out, McCarthy said Woodson will remain at safety this week.

Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com.


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