Wide receiver Donald Driver was nowhere to be seen as the Green Bay Packers returned to practice today, but coach Mike McCarthy is hoping that the Pro Bowl wide receiver will be ready to play for the regular season opener on Sept. 9 against Philadelphia at Lambeau Field.
The Packers began preparation today for their final preseason game Thursday at Tennessee. Driver, who injured his foot during the second quarter of Green Bay’s game Thursday night against the Jacksonville Jaguars, was not on the practice field watching drills.
“He’s improving. It’s a foot sprain, which is the classification of the injury,” McCarthy told reporters after practice at Clarke Hinkle Field. “I’m very hopeful that he will play against Philadelphia. He will not play this week against Tennessee.”
Running back Vernand Morency, who has been injured since the first practice of training camp, also will not play. Morency had pads on today, but practiced on his own inside the Don Hutson Center.
“I talked to him today,” McCarthy said. “He felt better today than he did last week. I’m hopeful once again for Philadelphia. He will not play this week.”
Cornerback Will Blackmon practiced despite a sprained thumb that he sustained against the Jaguars. Offensive lineman Jason Spitz practiced after injuring his calf Thursday night, but will not play on Thursday against the Titans, McCarthy said.
New to the walking wounded list include linebackers Abdul Hodge (knee) and Spencer Havner (back), and safety Aaron Rouse (hamstring). All three were injured against Jacksonville, and it is uncertain if they will return to practice on Monday. Hodge has battled knee tendonitis throughout this off-season, which "flared up" on him after the game last Thursday, McCarthy said.
Offensive linemen Orrin Thompson (knee) and Tony Palmer (hamstring) as well as defensive end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila (bruised knee) continued to be withheld from practice. Thompson has been sidelined since he was hurt Aug. 18 against Seattle. Palmer was injured in the team’s first preseason game Aug. 11 at Pittsburgh. Gbaja-Biamila was injured against Seattle.