Leading up to Sunday's game at Indianapolis, the injury bug paid a visit to Green Bay, landing four players on Friday's injury report, including all three players listed at left cornerback on the depth chart.
Ahmad Carroll, Michael Hawthorne and Mike McKenzie all were new additions to the list when it was filed Friday, with Hawthorne (ankle) and McKenzie (hamstring) given the designation of probable (75% chance of playing) and Carroll listed as questionable (50%) after suffering a pulled groin muscle.
Also added to the report was wide receiver Robert Ferguson, who was listed as probable with a hamstring ailment.
GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman addressed the injury issue in a press conference following Friday's mid-day practice. He said that the rash of injuries all occurred around the same time, toward the end of Thursday's afternoon session.
"Something happened in the air in the last quarter of practice when we were working on our 7-on-7s and our passing game," Sherman said. "(Hawthorne) turned his ankle and didn't finish practice yesterday. He didn't practice today but he should be OK by tomorrow."
Prior to his hamstring set-back, Sherman was pleased by McKenzie's performance on the practice field. However, he's not certain as to who will be opening the game as the opposite corner to Al Harris.
"Mike McKenzie practiced well on Wednesday - he looked pretty good. Then yesterday, he tweaked his hamstring and we held him out the second half of practice and again today. We'll further evaluate him and I'll make the decision whether he starts on Sunday."
Sherman said that Carroll's groin is the most serious of the injuries. He listed the rookie as questionable in hopes that he may improve and be able to help the team on special teams Sunday, but noted that he was the furthest away from returning to action.
The head coach said that the streak of injuries all popped up in a short span during the workout.
"It wasn't the same segment; it was the second half of practice," said Sherman. "Hawthorne, he kind of turned his ankle. Fergie was going for a deep ball in 7-on-7. It was a touchdown catch - he caught the ball and felt something in his butt area, so we held him back. He wanted to practice today, but we wouldn't let him. With Carroll, it was the same thing with his groin. It was all in the defensive drill, non-padded."
One player who will be looked to step up into an increased role after the events of the week is rookie cornerback Joey Thomas. Thomas, a third-round draft choice out of Montana State, filled in with the starting defense Friday, but doesn't expect do be in the starting line-up Sunday.
"I'll sure jump at (the chance), but we'll just wait and see," Thomas said. "You never know what might happen between now and then. A lot of the guys were feeling better and they were just taking precautions. Whatever my role is, I'll accept it and I'm going to run with it."
After being inactive last week and limited to special teams duty in the season opener, Thomas could see his first action against a live, regular season NFL offense against the Colts. The young defensive back wasn't feeling any jitters Friday, though, and welcomed the challenge of the game.
"We're too far away for jitters," said Thomas. "We don't even know what's going to happen between today and Sunday. There's two or three days left, so we'll just see. We'll just play it by ear and whatever my role is, I'm going to go with it. Any challenge is a challenge that you welcome. I'm just going to study my playbook and go forward."
Injuries or not, Hawthorne said that there will be no excuses for anything that might happen on the field. If he's not healthy enough to play, he won't hurt his team's chances by trying to be a hero.
"When you step on the field, you make no excuses," said Hawthorne. "If you can't perform, you can't play, there's no reason to be out there."