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Ferguson Re-Injures Knee During Practice


Wide receiver Robert Ferguson's comeback may have been temporarily derailed.

According to a team spokesman, Ferguson had his left knee rolled up on while running a fade route during the last few plays of practice on Friday afternoon. He aggravated the same knee he injured during the first quarter of the Oct. 23 game against the Minnesota Vikings.

"We thought we were going to be back up," wide receiver Antonio Chatman said. "We don't know what to expect now."

Ferguson remains listed as questionable on the injury report. The team did not downgrade him but will re-evaluate his status on Saturday.

Ferguson's availability would allow the Packers to use a four-receiver set, featuring him, Chatman, Donald Driver and Andrae Thurman, for the first time since Ferguson initially hurt his left knee.

The fifth-year receiver had looked sharp while practicing during Thursday and Friday's sessions and repeatedly told members of the media that he would play on Monday.

"We were so happy to have him back," Driver said. "We're hoping that whatever happened isn't serious and we're hoping that we can have him back for that Monday night game."

If Ferguson cannot return on Monday, Thurman, who caught his first and only ball of the season for 16 yards last Sunday, would receive extensive action on Monday.

Although Thurman expressed his preparedness for the No. 3 wide receiver role, he focused his attention on his teammate's health.

"I'm more worried about how Ferguson's doing right now," Thurman said. "I've always been ready to take that role if needed."

After spending the first month of the season on the Tennessee Titans practice squad before the Packers signed him to their active roster, Thurman said he has picked up the Packers' offense fairly well.

"I'm getting back into the groove," he said. "Building trust with Brett (Favre) is the biggest thing right now."

Whether Thurman can fill the void of Ferguson remains to be seen. Ferguson, who proclaimed himself a No. 1 receiver during training camp, has caught 17 passes for 279 yards and three touchdowns on the season and hauled in a career-high of 38 passes for 520 yards in 2003.

One of his best performances this season came during the Vikings game when he initially injured his knee. In the first quarter he gained eight yards by breaking tackles on a pass play that was going nowhere. In the second quarter he caught a 44-yard pass on 3rd-and-8 off a play-action-fake. It was on that play, part of the 96-yard drive, when Ferguson sprained a knee ligament.

Injuries have snakebit the Packers' wide receiver corps this season. Javon Walker (knee) and Terrence Murphy (neck) suffered season-ending injuries in Weeks 1 and 4, respectively.

"It's just bad luck. There's nothing we can do about it." Driver said. "How do we get good luck? Do we have to give someone a gift or something?"

The Packers, however, have shrugged off their most recent setback.

"Football is a game of injuries," Thurman said. "Sometimes it's two injuries. Sometimes it's 10 people getting hurt. Sometimes it's none. That's part of the game. We can only move forward."

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