The Green Bay Packers might be playing short-handed when they host the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.
With four players already ruled out and three others unable to practice thus far this week, that alone could form the seven-man inactive list to get to Sunday’s 46-player limit. Cornerback Casey Hayward has practiced in limited fashion the first two days of the week. With Hayward and the team fearful of aggravating that injury again and losing him for an even longer period, there’s no guarantee that he’ll be active on Sunday.
Thus, Green Bay could have 45 players active for the game.
“I wish you wouldn't ask me that question,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “We'll see. You must have heard Ted (Thompson) and I talking earlier. We'll see what happens.”
The injury situation was unchanged from Thursday. At outside linebacker, Clay Matthews and Nick Perry are out and Mike Neal hasn’t been able to practice due to his shoulder. McCarthy is “hopeful” that Neal can practice on Friday. Even if he can’t practice, McCarthy wouldn’t rule out Neal playing on Sunday.
At wide receiver, James Jones hasn’t practiced, either, leaving Jordy Nelson, Jarrett Boykin and Myles White. Jones is progressing but is iffy for Friday’s practice, as well.
“Clearly special teams,” McCarthy said when asked which area would feel the biggest impact from the injuries. “There's going to be a position or two that's stressed, (but) I think it clearly would stress special teams. If you look at the makeup of our roster right now, the linebacker position is the area we're stressed.”
Packers injury report
Out: LB Clay Matthews (thumb), LB Nick Perry (foot), RB James Starks (knee), TE Ryan Taylor (knee). Did not participate: LB Brad Jones (hamstring), WR James Jones (knee), DE/LB Mike Neal (shoulder). Limited: CB Casey Hayward (hamstring). Full: CB Jarrett Bush (hamstring).
Browns injury report
Did not participate: RB Willis McGahee (knee), DL Billy Winn (quad). Limited: DB Josh Aubrey (ankle/knee), LB Brandon Magee (oblique). Full: DB Chris Owens (finger), RB Bobby Rainey (groin), LB Jabaal Sheard (knee).
-- Derek Sherrod participated in Thursday’s padded practice, including during the full-go combo run-game drill. “Part of his rehab is doing some things,” offensive line coach James Campen said. “He’s been getting out of his stance as part of his running and all those things that he’s doing. You just have to look at it, yesterday he had some fundamentals and today with the pads. It’s going to take some time, but I expect him to progress. He’s confident in his leg and the injury is behind him. I think the only way is up from here.”
-- McCarthy, on what he appreciates about A.J. Hawk: “His consistency. A.J. Hawk, he's the same guy every day, and I think that's a huge complement in a professional environment. I would hope that I would be viewed that way when my time's over. A consistency of an individual to me is directly related to a complex formula to being successful. I think it's a key component. A.J. is extremely consistent in his approach, how he handles different situations. He's had some ups and downs. You know, he's had some challenges, but he just gives you everything he's got every single day.”
-- McCarthy said no decisions have made on safety Sean Richardson. He remains on the PUP list due to a neck injury that has jeopardized his promising career.
-- Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy was named to the board of directors of USA Football. USA Football leads the game’s development for youth, high school and other amateur football players. The Indianapolis-based organization with members in 50 states and Washington, D.C., created and administers the education-based player safety program Heads Up Football.
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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 email@example.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.