Green Bay featured back Ahman Green is practicing, but the Packers aren't sure what role, if any, he will play in Sunday's crucial game against the Vikings. Green is one of several injured Packers whose role has yet to be determined.
Running back Ahman Green
practiced for the second time this week Wednesday, though the team's featured back is questionable for Sunday's game at Minnesota.
Green continues to be plagued by a bruised right knee and a strained quadriceps tendon in the same leg, injuries he sustained during the Oct. 3 loss at Carolina. Green subsequently missed the 52-3 rout of New Orleans on Oct. 9 before the team had its bye week.
Coach Mike Sherman said Wednesday the plan with Green this week in practice is to "gradually take him along."
It would seem paramount that the anemic running game get Green back at least on a part-time basis Sunday, given that top backup Najeh Davenport suffered a season-ending broken ankle in the last game. When healthy the last few years, Green and Davenport gave the Packers a formidable 1-2 punch and gave Sherman the luxury of not having to overextend either player with too many carries in a game.
Now that Davenport is out, the Packers' two-back philosophy will be put to the test. Tony Fisher
and recently acquired ReShard Lee are the backups to Green, but neither has been put in a position to carry a bigger load for an extended period of time. Fisher has started only one game in his three-plus years with the team, primarily confined to a role as a third-down back. Sherman acknowledged that Lee, who was with Dallas last year, is "an unknown commodity."
Consequently, the Packers figure to have a greater dependency on Green the rest of the season, provided he can stay on the field. Green has gained all of 206 yards in 61 carries and doesn't have a touchdown this season.
"I do anticipate him carrying the football when he's playing, maybe more so than he has," Sherman said. "That has been the case (in the past). As we get deeper into the season, his history has been he has had more carries."
NOTESC Mike Flanagan didn't practice Wednesday, increasing the likelihood he won't play for the second straight game. He's listed on the injury report as questionable.
Flanagan is recovering from Oct. 5 surgery to repair a sports hernia. Scott Wells started in place of Flanagan against New Orleans and is prepared to get the call again Sunday.
Sherman hasn't ruled out Flanagan playing but is leery of putting the veteran out there if it's determined he wouldn't be able to hold up from start to finish.
"If he were available to us, we would alternate him (with Wells) as need be," said Sherman, though he quickly added, "(but) if he can't go the whole game, I'm not going to just use him sporadically. I would stay with Scottie. I'm not big on rotating centers."
TE Bubba Franks practiced Wednesday but is questionable to play Sunday because of a torn MCL in his left knee, which isn't fully healed. As it typically does, the team is erring on the side of caution in bringing back Franks gradually after he suffered the injury in the Sept. 18 loss to Cleveland. Franks was sidelined the ensuing two games, then was activated for the last game but got on the field for only two plays as the No. 3 tight end in a blocking capacity. A determination on Franks' status for Sunday will be made later in the week. David Martin has started the last three games in place of Franks.
CB Ahmad Carroll has solidified his spot as the starter on the left side. Since being demoted from the base defense for a game after he committed four penalties in the Sept. 11 opener at Detroit, Carroll has drawn only one penalty (for pass interference) in the last three games he's been the starter.
S Earl Little missed another day of practice as he copes with a strained hamstring, an injury he suffered Oct. 3 at Carolina. The backup was sidelined the last game and is questionable to play Sunday.
OLB Na'il Diggs reiterated Wednesday that he's aiming to return for the Nov. 13 game at Atlanta. The veteran starter suffered a torn MCL in his right knee during the Oct. 3 contest against Carolina and was projected to miss at least six weeks, the same amount of time he needed to recuperate from a torn MCL in his left knee sustained a week into training camp this year. Diggs did some light jogging Wednesday for the first time since incurring the latest injury. The team hasn't settled on a temporary replacement for Diggs at the strong-side position. Undrafted rookie Roy Manning started the last game. Paris Lenon, who was the starter at the beginning of the season with Diggs out, split time with Manning in practice Wednesday. Rookie Brady Poppinga, who has a team-high nine special-teams tackles, also is getting a look at the spot.