Notebook: Harrell will sit again

Also from 1265 Lombardi Ave., Ryan Grant has a plan to stay warm at Chicago; plus injury reports from both teams ahead of Monday night.

This is not the statistic the Packers expected when they used their first-round pick on Justin Harrell in 2007: 13 games played, 18 games missed.

Harrell has been ruled out of Monday night's game at Chicago because of hip and back pain. Harrell missed the first seven games of the season while recovering from offseason back surgeries, then missed last week's game with a sore hip.

"Most of the pain is in the hip, which could be related to the initial injury," coach Mike McCarthy said on Friday. "That's really what we need to find out. He's really just had a setback the last couple practices, so we're going to be smart with him this week and see if we can get him through rehab and get him ready for Detroit. (That) is our plan."

McCarthy said the necessity of another surgical procedure hasn't been discussed.

Harrell played in seven of 16 regular-season games last season plus both playoff games. Coincidentally, the best game of Harrell's young career was last year at Chicago, where he tallied a career-high nine tackles.

But he didn't use that late-season performance as a springboard. Instead, he showed up to the offseason program out of shape and injured his back. He had back surgery in April but he never was healthy enough to participate in training camp, so he had surgery again in late August.

"It's kind of been ongoing," McCarthy said. "It's getting worse. It's not getting better. We're going to put him, once again, in the rehab mind-set and take it throughout the weekend and see if there's a chance for Detroit."

With Harrell out, the Packers will turn to at least one former practice-squad player. Alfred Malone, an intriguing prospect who had a decent training camp as a pass rusher, has played in the last two games.

Anthony Toribio, a rookie from Carson-Newman who was signed to the practice squad last month, was promoted to the active roster this week when the Packers placed Atari Bigby on injured reserve.

"Practice squad guy, that's what we all wait for," the 6-foot-1, 305-pound Toribio said about possibly playing this week. "Every practice guy around the league waits for their number to be called. It's pretty exciting. I'm enjoying it right now. I'm just grateful for this opportunity."

Grant wants the ball
Running back Ryan Grant has a simple strategy for combating the bitter cold expected for Monday night in Chicago.

"The more running I'm doing, the warmer I'm going to be," Grant said. "I want to do as much running as possible. I guess that's good for our team. The more running I'm doing, that means we're gaining yards."

Grant figures to get ample opportunities. The cold and wind aren't conducive to passing the ball, and backup Brandon Jackson is questionable with a wrist injury.

Grant was a driving force behind the Packers' 37-3 thumping of Chicago last month. He rushed 25 times for a season-high 145 yards to spearhead the Packers' 200-yard day on the ground.

"It's critical, regardless, but I think it's definitely big because you never know with the wind how the passing game will be affected," Grant said. "Start fast, run the ball, control the ball, set the tone with what we're trying to do."

Grant's 66-yard touchdown at cold and blustery Chicago last season was the longest run of his career and the Packers' lone highlight. He said that was the coldest weather he's ever been in, much less played. As for Monday, with temperatures in the single digits?

"We live in it, so it shouldn't be that much of a factor," he said.

If Jackson can't play or is limited, DeShawn Wynn will get the call, McCarthy said. Jackson went through individual drills, including punching a blocking sled, and McCarthy said he did more than he anticipated.

Packers injury report
Out — Harrell.

Questionable (50 percent chance of playing) — Fullback Korey Hall (knee); Jackson.

Probable (75 percent chance of playing) — Tackle Chad Clifton (thumbs, knees); cornerback Al Harris (shoulder); tight end Tory Humphrey (concussion); cornerback Charles Woodson (toe).

Bears injury report
Out — Fullback Jason McKie (quad).

Questionable — Receiver Marty Booker (ribs); running back Matt Forte (toe).

Probable — Defensive tackle Tommie Harris (knee).

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.


Packer Report Top Stories