"Talking to both young guys, they're optimistic and say they're going to be back," McCarthy said after the team's practice at Clarke Hinkle Field.
Neither of the two players were at practice today and neither are expected to undergo surgery for the ligament damage to their knees, McCarthy said. Sitton was hurt late in the first quarter against the Broncos while Jones left the game in the third quarter in what originally was thought to be a knee bruise.
Tony Moll, who stepped in for Sitton on Friday night, played with the first team in practice today, which was conducted in shells. The team was scheduled to practice in pads, beginning later in the morning, but the practice time was pushed back and the pads waived due to the team's injury situation.
Ruvell Martin is expected to move up and play in place of Jones behind starters Donald Driver and Greg Jennings. Neither Jones nor Sitton are expected to play this Thursday in Green Bay's final preseason game against Tennessee. It is very possible that both players will not be ready to return for the season opener Sept. 8 against Minnesota. Knee sprains typically keep players out of action from four to six weeks.
"It's our first time going through it with Josh," McCarthy said. "Any time you get into these ligament sprains, a lot of it is based on the severity of it, but also the individual. You talk to the (doctors) and it could be two weeks. You talk to the player and it could be two days. I know he feels strong about it, but that's why I put him in a week to week category."
McCarthy said that Jones is "focusing on trying to get back for Minnesota."
Probably will sit out Thursday
Besides Jones and Sitton, a number of players did not participate in practice this afternoon and are not expected to play Thursday in the team's preseason finale against Tennessee at Lambeau Field. They included safeties Atari Bigby (ankle) and Charlie Peprah (hip flexor), Charles Woodson (knee bruise), defensive tackles Justin Harrell (back), Ryan Pickett (hamstring) and Johnny Jolly (hip flexor), defensive end Cullen Jenkins (general soreness), center Scott Wells (trunk) and linebackers A.J. Hawk (chest) and Brandon Chillar (lower back).
McCarthy said that Pickett began testing his hamstring with trainers last week and made progress, but not enough to return to practice this week.
"I'm hopeful he'll be a late edition for this week and hopefully next week," McCarthy said.
McCarthy also said that the team is mulling whether or not to place Harrell on the physically unable to perform list to begin the season. If he is placed on PUP, he will not be able to play for the first six games, but also will not count against the 53-man roster limit.
"He's got a second opinion in Charlotte," McCarthy said about Harrell. "Hopefully we'll have more information in the next day or so."
Grant, Wynn back in action
Running backs Ryan Grant and DeShawn Wynn each returned to practice after missing extensive time in training camp due to injuries. Grant has been out since earlier this month when he was injured in practice. Wynn injured his ankle in the first preseason game. Both are expected to play Thursday night against the Titans.
"You want to get back into the swing; you want to get hit, you want to hit," said Grant.
Grant said he had to prove to the team's trainers that his hamstring was not a problem by running and doing different drills for about an hour before practice today. He said he passed those tests in flying colors and did not feel any soreness from his hamstring after practice.
"None, not at all," Grant said. "I felt like I've been ready, but they make the decision on the final pass. They feel good with me being out there right now and that's why I'm out there."
Wynn find him in a similar situation to last year when he made the team based on his performance in the final preseason game. He ran with the second team offense in practice on Sunday.
"As far making the team standpoint, that's not really what I'm focused on. I just want to go out there and make a good impression," said Wynn. "Having missed two preseason games and having been out for a while, I'm looking to show the coaches something."
"Definitely there is a lot of competition in the backfield," Wynn said. "You've got to make the best of the opportunities you get. Thursday will be my opportunity to give the coaches a lasting impression for the preseason.
? Cornerback Jarrett Bush took a number of snaps at safety against the Broncos on Friday and probably will play the position against Tennessee on Thursday. Bush played the safety position in practice Sunday, rotating with Nick Collins, Aaron Rouse and Tyrone Culver. Due to injuries to Bigby and Peprah, who are not expected to play Thursday, the Packers have been using Bush more at safety.
? Linebacker Tracy White practiced with the first and second team defenses in place of the injured A.J. Hawk and Brandon Chillar. Neither Hawk nor Chillar are expected to suit up on Thursday.
"As far as playing linebacker and what we have asked from him, he's doing a heckuva job on special teams," said McCarthy about White. "We're going to try to play him as much as we can with Abdul (Hodge), Tracy and Desmond Bishop. That's another competitive situation on our football team."
? Defensive end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila returned to practice today. Gbaja-Biamila has missed most of training camp after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery in May. He likely will not suit up against Tennessee on Thursday.
? The first team offensive line consisted of, from left to right, Chad Clifton, Daryn Colledge, Jason Spitz, Tony Moll and Mark Tauscher. The second team offensive line included, from left, Orrin Thompson, Allen Barbre, Junius Coston, Tony Moll and Breno Giacomini.
? In preparation for Thursday with many regulars expected to see little or no playing time, the Packers used a number of different combinations for the dime defense.
? The Packers are scheduled to practice in pads at 10:45 a.m. Monday and in shells at 10:15 a.m. Tuesday at Clarke Hinkle Field. After that, practice will be closed to the public for the rest of the season.