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Injury Update - Recovering Rivera Ribbed By Teammates


Marco Rivera wasn't hiding behind a patch, but he was sporting a pair of Nike sunglasses.

The 2002 Pro Bowler was unintentionally poked in the eye Sunday by Arizona Cardinals nose tackle Barron Tanner, and although medical tests conducted Monday found no significant damage to the offensive guard's right eye, the normally white sclera was red with blood Wednesday.

"The eye looks worse than it really is," Rivera said. "I'm just sensitive to the light right now. That's why I have the sunglasses on."

Good thing Rivera's ego isn't as fragile. The sunglasses may have protected his eye, but they invited numerous jabs from his teammates.

"I've been hearing Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder and (Jim) McMahon," Rivera said. "Mike Wahle called me the Puerto Rican Terminator."

The last nickname is the most appropriate, considering that neither broken hand, nor medial collateral ligament tears have been able to keep Rivera out of the lineup in recent seasons.

Only Brett Favre (178), Ryan Longwell (99) and Rob Davis (90) currently have more consecutive regular-season appearances than Rivera's 70 (74 including playoffs).

"I do get frustrated," Rivera said of the injuries, "but I don't let that bother me. Every day is different. Each injury is different.

"Who would know? All the years I've played football, I've never been poked in the eye (until Sunday). It just happens. It's part of the game."

Rivera plans to wear a protective plastic shield over his facemask during practices this week, but hopes to ditch it for the Monday night meeting with Chicago.

"It's pretty much close to 100 percent," Rivera said of his eye. "It doesn't hurt. So unless there's a big flash in the sky, I won't go blind."

Ferguson Monitored

Robert Ferguson has done his best to stay in the lineup in recent weeks, but GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman indicated Wednesday that the third-year receiver could be held out of the Chicago game with a sprained right knee.

Ferguson originally sprained both his right ankle and medial collateral ligament in the Packers' season-opener, Sept. 7. He played hurt against Detroit, but aggravated the knee injury, then played hurt against Arizona, and again aggravated the knee.

Sherman said he doesn't plan to practice Ferguson until Friday, but would consider keeping him out of the lineup against the Bears if the short-term risk would provide long-term rewards.

"It's too early to say that he'll be out," Sherman said. "He was fine last week, practiced very well, appeared to be 100 percent, but torqued that knee (in the game). Somebody leg-whipped the back of his knee ... and that is what instated the pain. But we'll see how he progresses."

Walls Running

Wesley Walls sat out the Arizona game to give his strained hamstring some time to recover, but Sherman said it's too soon to tell if one game off was enough to get the 15th-year veteran back to 100 percent.

Walls didn't practice Wednesday, instead using the time to do some full-speed running with strength and conditioning coach Barry Rubin.

With the Packers not playing until Monday night, Sherman said Wednesday provided an additional opportunity to rest injured players.

"I'm going to try and use it as best I can to get guys healthy," Sherman said. "Technically we start (Thursday). This is a bonus day for us."

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