Robert Ferguson got his new helmet Friday and was back on the field inside the Don Hutson Center with his teammates, running routes and catching passes in the Green Bay Packers' final full workout before their NFC Wild Card Playoff game Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings.
The occasion marked the first time the receiver has participated in team drills since being knocked out of the December 19 game against Jacksonville on a play that left Ferguson in the hospital for two nights and temporarily without full feeling in his lower extremities.
According to Ferguson and GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman, the player has returned to full strength and the numbness that had lingered in the left side of his body is gone, leading to a potential return to game action Sunday.
Sherman upgraded Ferguson from doubtful to questionable on the team's official injury report.
"We wouldn't have put him on the field if he had any numbness or lack of strength," said Sherman. So, yeah he's in pretty good shape right now."
Ferguson said the time off late in the season has actually given him an added spring in his step.
"As far as just being physically able to do what I can do, I rate myself real high right now," he said. "I feel like I can do everything that I did before. And I feel a little fresher - my legs are rested - so it felt good."
As for whether or not he's going to be capable of playing Sunday, both Ferguson and Sherman said they will defer to the team's medical staff for that decision.
"It's pretty much up to the doctors and Coach Sherman," Ferguson said. "I did what I can do. I went out there and showed Coach Sherman what I could do as far as my physical status, running around catching the ball, listening to the plays and comprehending the plays and executing the plays.
"I did what I can do but I understand it's a very delicate situation and the coaches are going to be careful with it and not rush into anything."
Sherman said he's seen enough on the practice field to activate Ferguson, but whether or not he gains medical clearance remains to be seen.
"There's nothing that he's going to be able to prove to us on the field that he didn't do today other than hit people," the coach said. "I just need the doctors to say, 'Yeah, he's OK to go.' If I can get that from the doctors, then we'll go in that direction.
"I would rely totally on them in regard to that because we're dealing with issues here that I'm certainly not qualified to address."
As far as the new equipment goes, Ferguson will be sporting a visor on his helmet when he does make his return to the field to help counteract some light sensitivity. The receiver reported no difficulty catching the ball during his first practice in his new headgear.
"I got a visor with a little tint on it so it helped me out a lot once I started wearing that," he said. "(I didn't get any) headaches or anything like that, so the visor helped me out a lot and I felt good."
Whenever he does get the call to return - be it Sunday or potentially deeper into the postseason - Ferguson knows his style of play won't be affected by this experience.
"A lot of people asked me if I'm scared to go back out there," he said. "I just take it as a part of the game - any given play, something like that can happen. If you're playing the game scared, there is no use playing the game, so I'm not nervous or scared or anything like that."
After getting his first taste of team action in a while, Ferguson hopes to be back in front of the crowd at Lambeau Field this weekend.
"After doing what I did today, I'd love to be out there with my teammates. Whether it's covering kickoffs or whatever, just being out there to contribute to us winning the game. I'd love to be out there, but will it happen? I don't know. I think I'm questionable now, so hopefully I will be."