It's been more than two months since Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre sustained a hairline crack in the thumb of his right throwing hand, but finally some signs of progress.
Wednesday, Favre practiced without a protective splint on his damaged digit for the first time since he broke the thumb, Oct. 19.
But while doctors have considered the splint expendable for three weeks, Favre indicated that he might put it back on before Sunday's Wild Card playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks.
"It felt awkward, believe it or not," Favre said after practice Wednesday. "In some ways I had gotten used to the splint and felt, obviously, protected. But whether or not I go without it Sunday, I don't know. I'm going to continue (Thursday) without it and just kind of see."
Since sustaining the injury just a few plays into the Packers' 34-24 loss at St. Louis, Favre's grip on the football has been compromised on occasion, but his throwing ability hasn't been noticeably hindered.
Twenty-one of his NFL-leading 32 touchdowns, 180 of his 308 completions and 2,100 of his 3,361 yards passing this season came in spite of the injury.
In fact, Favre has stuck with the splint in recent weeks because of its protective elements, not its stabilizing ones.
"The big test will be -- hopefully I don't have to find out -- if I get it hit or bent a certain way," Favre said of his thumb. "Because I don't have very much mobility in it.
"There is a little bit more mobility without the splint, but the protection's not there. So that will be the big test."
Favre is one of 10 Packers players on the injury list this week, but seven of those players -- including Favre -- are listed as probable, meaning there's a 75-percent chance they'll play Sunday.
Wide receivers Donald Driver (ankle), Robert Ferguson (Achilles) and Javon Walker (knee/hamstring) are all listed as probable, but none of the three took part in practice Wednesday.
GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman said he wanted to give them an extra day to rest.
"As a coach, it's always a concern that you don't have all your guys practicing," Sherman said. "But in the big picture of things, their health on Sunday will be more of a concern."
Linebacker Marcus Wilkins is the only player listed as doubtful, due to a strained calf.
Cornerback Mike McKenzie has missed the past two games with a case of turf toe and is questionable, as is defensive end Chukie Nwokorie, who broke the navicular bone in his wrist against the Denver Broncos, but might play against the Seahawks with his hand wrapped like a club.
Last season, the Packers had several starters out or banged up heading into the playoffs, but this year's squad has a considerably cleaner bill of health.
McKenzie and Ferguson were held out of the regular-season finale, but Sherman said both may be asked to play through injuries this weekend.
"If an injury will cause them harm as a player, I certainly would hold them out," Sherman said. "But if an injury is such that you're just dealing with the injury itself during the game, I don't have a problem with that necessarily.
"I don't think I'm being overly cautious with them. And if they can play, they will play."