The Green Bay Packers’ injury situation improved dramatically over a 24-hour period.
On Wednesday, B.J. Raji didn’t practice and Aaron Rodgers essentially didn’t practice. On Thursday, Raji (ankle) returned in limited fashion and Rodgers (calf) was a full participant.
“Talked to Aaron this morning,” coach Mike McCarthy said, “he wanted to go today, felt it was important to get on it and see where he was. Once we started practicing, he said he felt like he needed to take all the reps, and he did.”
Raji didn’t do much during the portion of practice that was open to reporters. Raji wasn’t on the field during individual drills but joined the defense as it walked through plays in the southeast corner of the Don Hutson Center. He alternated between playing offensive line for the look team and his customary spot at nose tackle.
Still, it was a step forward for Raji, who was injured at Indianapolis and missed Sunday night’s win at Houston.
“B.J. definitely took a step today as far as going through the rehab and practicing today,” McCarthy said. “As always, when the player does come back for the first day, the examination tomorrow obviously will be very important. But it was good to have him out there.”
Sunday’s game at St. Louis will be played on FieldTurf, but that won’t be much of a factor when the coaches determine whether or not Raji will play.
“The way we deal with injuries, when the player’s healthy, when everybody’s in line as far as the medical staff, the player, then he plays,” McCarthy said. “I don’t like to hedge bets and worry about next week or the week after that. This business is so competitive, it’s important to go out each week and give yourself a chance to win.”
Tight end Jermichael Finley, meanwhile, was limited again. Finley injured his shoulder at Indianapolis and managed to play 24 snaps against Houston. McCarthy praised Finley for his toughness.
“First off, for Jermichael even to play in the game I think says a lot about him,” McCarthy said. “I know the training staff didn’t think he was going to be able to play after his exam Sunday and even Monday morning (following the Colts game). For what he did between Monday and Friday to get on the field and show he could do it is a huge credit to Jermichael. We put him on a rep count in the game — actually, he hit it. Once again, he’s ready, he wants to go, he wants more. But I know our doctors are a little reluctant based on his examination and what they’re seeing and the history with the A/C joint. We’re trying to be smart with him but he’s champing at the bit to play more.”
Packers injury report
Did not participate: WR Greg Jennings (groin); LB Nick Perry (knee); CB Sam Shields (shin/ankle). Limited: TE Jermichael Finley (shoulder); RB Alex Green (shoulder); DT B.J. Raji (ankle); S Sean Richardson (hamstring). Full: CB Davon House (shoulder); QB Aaron Rodgers (calf); TE D.J. Williams (hamstring).
Rams injury report
Did not participate: WR Danny Amendola (shoulder); LB Mario Haggan (thigh); T Wayne Hunter (back); T Rodger Saffold (knee). Full: CB Janoris Jenkins (back).
Jenkins was listed as did not participate on Wednesday.
— McCarthy wasn’t happy with how his team was practicing a couple weeks ago, specifically with the looks and tempo provided by the scout teams. That’s been an area of big improvement that continued on Thursday, with practice ending 17 minutes early.
— Can the Packers’ offensive success at Houston carry over to this week and beyond? “That’s what we’re striving for,” offensive coordinator Tom Clements said. “We’ve won two of the last three. We had a big win against Houston but that’s in the past. We’re going into St. Louis. They’ve got a new staff there, they have a new system but they’re getting better in their system each week. They have some talented players, they’re playing at home in a loud place. It’s going to be a challenge and we’re going to have to play well.”
— At the University of Houston, Sammy Brown was one of the nation’s top pass rushers. Brown, an undrafted rookie with the Rams, wore a blond wig while imitating Clay Matthews at practice.
— With Sunday’s win, Green Bay has gone from 15/1 to win the Super Bowl to 15/2, according to online sportsbook Bovada. Houston, San Francisco and New England are 6/1, Atlanta is 7/1 and the Packers and Giants are tied for the fifth-best odds.
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.