Cobb Continues Long Road Back

Cobb (Patrick McDermott - Getty)

He was all smiles on Wednesday while practicing for the first time since sustaining a broken tibia on Oct. 13. Still, there are significant hurdles to clear before he'll be allowed to play, which he detailed after practice.

Green Bay Packers receiver Randall Cobb practiced for the first time since suffering a broken tibia at Baltimore on Oct. 13.

When – or if – he can contribute this season is anyone's guess.

Cobb said he started running "seven or eight days ago" and is "reteaching" himself how to run routes.

"I have to go back to working my running form and go back to working off cutting in different ways and different directions and doing different things," Cobb said after Wednesday's practice. "Just focusing in on those little-bitty details in my running."

Cobb, who said the injury is fully healed, remains on injured reserve-designated for return and has not been cleared to play in a game. He would have been listed as limited participation for Wednesday's practice, coach Mike McCarthy said. While Cobb didn't have a timetable in mind, it's almost impossible to believe he'd play on Sunday against Pittsburgh and even the game at Chicago seems unlikely.

Along with the physical barriers, Cobb said there are mental hurdles he needs to clear after sustaining a serious injury. He said he needs to get back to being "fearless" so he can play rather than thinking and worrying about the injury.

"Definitely there's a mental block that I've got to run through," Cobb said. "It's kind of like letting a horse out of the gate and letting him run into the wilderness a little bit and get himself back. I'm at the point where I have to continue to work and continue to trust my body and trust that I'm healed."

The short-term pessimism notwithstanding, Wednesday was a big hurdle for Cobb to clear. After never being sidelined for several games in his athletic career, it's been frustrating to miss the last nine games. He called it an "early Christmas present" to be back on the field.

"It was fun," Cobb said. "I'm very grateful to be able to go back on the field. I'm very grateful and humbled to be back out there with my teammates and just being back in the action. Everybody was making fun of me because I was smiling from ear to ear, from getting my helmet back, getting a new pair of cleats and just being at practice. It's a very good day for me, I'd say."

Packers injury report

Did not participate: TE Brandon Bostick (foot), DT Johnny Jolly (shoulder/neck), ILB Brad Jones (ankle), RB Eddie Lacy (ankle), OLB Mike Neal (abdomen), OLB Nick Perry (foot). Limited: DT Ryan Pickett (knee), QB Aaron Rodgers (collarbone), DE C.J. Wilson (ankle).

Like last week, McCarthy is being "smart" with Lacy, and there is no reason to believe Lacy won't be good to go for Sunday.

Steelers injury report

Did not participate: WR Jerricho Cotchery (shoulder), TE Heath Miller (not injury related), S Troy Polamaul (not injury related). Limited: T Marcus Gilbert (ankle), DE Brett Keisel (foot). Full: T Kelvin Beachum (knee), NT Steve McClendon (ankle), WR Emmanuel Sanders (foot).

Four-point stance

-- McCarthy, on the mood of the team now that it controls its destiny in the NFC North: "I'd say they're definitely more confident. I think that's to be expected. Everybody clearly understands what's in front of us. We view this as a semifinal game. It's a game we have to have. It's the same thing I told the team: told them to turn the TVs off, we need to pay attention to the Pittsburgh Steeler video and stay on top of the things we need to do to win this game. But we clearly understand where we are in our season, what we've been through, what we gained Sunday in Dallas, but this is about the next opportunity."

-- The mood before the Packers' game-winning drive at Dallas was anything but tense: "We had scored the couple drives before that," quarterback Matt Flynn explained. "We just got the ball and we knew what an opportunity we had. We had good field position and it was such a great play by Sam. We were excited, because we couldn't believe after the first half that we were in a position to take the lead. And I think that's why Jordy was chuckling. But we had to lock it up."

-- Eddie Lacy was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week.

-- Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, on his team, which started 0-4 and has long-shot playoff hopes at 6-8: "(0-4 start but, hey, you're in the shitty AFC) You know, we've been working hard since then but, obviously, it is what it is. We hadn't tried to judge it in any way, really. We just decided to kind of live week to week and focus on the week's challenge. Through that, hopefully we put ourselves back in this thing. Obviously, a lot of things have got to transpire in order for us to be in play, certainly."


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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 packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.

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