He's still listed as questionable on the injury report, but Donald Driver's probability for Saturday's playoff game against the Atlanta Falcons seemed to increase significantly when he made a brief, but encouraging appearance in Thursday's practice.
After attending the special teams practice in the morning, Driver rejoined the team midway through the full-squad practice later in the afternoon. Appearing with the No. 1 offense, Driver ran several routes, but saw only two passes go his way.
Still, it was a promising development for a guy whose injured right shoulder prevented him from lifting his arm above his head to put on his shirt two days before.
"My shoulder is still hurting, don't get me wrong," Driver said. "But I feel like the treatment I've been getting is great. I'm able now to put my arm over my head. After the (Jets) game, I couldn't even put my arm up, so I'm pretty much happy with the progress I've been making."
Driver sustained the injury during an end-around rush in the second quarter of last Sunday's 42-17 loss.
X-rays were negative, but a contusion and tightness in the shoulder rendered his arm virtually immobile earlier this week.
Driver still does not have full range of motion in the shoulder, and probably won't by the weekend, but he still thinks he can be an effective receiver.
Thursday he insisted that he can still catch, block and fight off a defensive back's jam at the line of scrimmage. He just might not be able to pull down a ball directly over his head.
If all that is true, and if his shoulder doesn't react adversely to Thursday's workout, that's probably enough to get him in the lineup.
"I don't think he has to have full range of motion to play," GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman said. "I just want to make sure that he can play the whole game and an injury doesn't knock us out of a receiver."
Driver admitted that his brief workout Thursday probably wasn't enough to prove that he can play this weekend, but hoped that further evaluation Friday would support his argument that he can be in the lineup.
"It's still sore, but I feel like I'll be able to play," he said.
Driver started all 16 games this season, his fourth as a pro, leading the Packers with 70 receptions for 1,064 yards and nine touchdowns.
Injuries, etc. Darren Sharper did not practice this week. Wednesday he said he felt there was better than a 50-percent chance that he would play Saturday ... GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman said he'd lost some optimism regarding cornerback Tod McBride's availability. McBride aggravated a groin injury against the Jets and didn't practice this week ... Sherman said that offensive tackle Earl Dotson had a "great" week of practice and seems ready to return to the starting lineup. Inactive against San Francisco and Buffalo with back tightness, Dotson has practiced sparingly in recent weeks, which Sherman said has actually seemed to "rejuvenate" the 10-year veteran ... Wide receiver Robert Ferguson played through back tightness against the Jets, but would replace Donald Driver in the starting lineup this weekend if necessary.