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Injured Starters Rest Friday


Offensive guard Marco Rivera and safety Darren Sharper are still listed as questionable for the regular-season opener Sunday at Lambeau Field, but neither participated in the Green Bay Packers' practice Friday.

GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman said that was by design, in part to let the injured veterans rest their wounds, while also providing extra reps to those who might have to step in and replace them.

"We're prepared either way we decide to go," said Sherman, who will make a game-day decision on both players. "We're certainly not going to put them at risk. If we feel like the risk is minimized because of where they are (Sunday), then we'll take a shot at it."

Rivera is less than two weeks removed from spraining the medial collateral ligament in his left knee in the Packers' preseason game against the Carolina Panthers, August 23. Darren Sharper injured his groin in the same game.

"It's pretty remarkable what they've done to get to this point," Sherman said. "There aren't many athletes out there that would do what they're doing."

Friday, neither Rivera nor Sharper wanted to predict whether they'd play this weekend, but if included in the lineup, they expect to be in it for the long haul.

"If I play, I'm going to try to play the full game," Rivera said.

If Rivera can't play, starting tackle Mark Tauscher likely would move to guard, with Kevin Barry assuming the left tackle position.

Sharper would be replaced by Marques Anderson.

Also sitting out Friday's practice was starting nose tackle Gilbert Brown, who is trying to play with a ruptured biceps. Sherman said he wanted to give Rod Walker increased reps at nose tackle, and didn't want to risk aggravating Brown's condition on a day when the Packers worked primarily in dime situations on defense.

Tight end Wesley Walls, who suffered a slight hamstring pull Thursday also was held out of practice as a precaution.

At the doorstep of his 15th NFL season, Walls said he's been fortunate enough to avoid muscle pulls up to this point.

"I don't have muscles to pull," he joked. "It's just very frustrating. I don't know how to handle it. There's nothing I could have done any different. It wasn't anything I did wrong, it's just something that happened. It's weird."

Walls is listed as probable on the team's injury report, meaning there's a 75-percent chance he will play.

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