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Notebook: Clifton On Track To Start

Veteran left tackle Chad Clifton, who was limited all week due to a hamstring injury he suffered at Detroit in the Packers’ last game, is expected to be in the starting lineup on Monday night against Baltimore. - More Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Dec. 5


Veteran left tackle Chad Clifton, who was limited all week due to a hamstring injury he suffered at Detroit in the Packers' last game, is expected to be in the starting lineup on Monday night against Baltimore.

Clifton took all of the reps with the No. 1 offensive line during the jog-through portion of Saturday's practice, as well as some snaps during team (11-on-11) work.

"Chad was limited, could have probably done more, but I feel very good the way he came out of the week," Head Coach Mike McCarthy said. "Today, the way he responded to his work yesterday was definitely a positive. We'll see how the next 50 hours goes, but it looks like he has a chance to be ready to go. I feel better about him today than I did two days ago."

Clifton sustained the injury early in the second half against the Lions, with rookie T.J. Lang taking over the rest of the game at left tackle. Lang had started two games there earlier this season when Clifton was sidelined with an ankle injury.

But Lang's availability for Monday night is in question after he sat out practice on Saturday for the second straight day with a concussion sustained in Thursday's practice. McCarthy said Lang would be the backup to Clifton if he is cleared by the medical staff.

If Lang cannot suit up against the Ravens, the Packers could go in a couple of directions to back up Clifton at left tackle. One option would be third-year tackle Allen Barbre, who started the first seven games of the season on the right side, or second-year man Breno Giacomini.

The other option if necessary would be to move left guard Daryn Colledge out to left tackle. Colledge started two games earlier this season there when Clifton missed time with the ankle injury, but McCarthy did say it would help Colledge if he could just focus on one position.

"I think it helps any of our guys if they have the ability to stay at one position," McCarthy said. "But we have shown in the past, we work different combinations throughout the week. Daryn still has the ability to bounce out to left tackle if needed.

"But our priority and options are something frankly that are part of game-planning. We feel like we have the needed reps and the availability of a number of different people if we have to go that route."

On the other side of the line, right tackle Mark Tauscher appears ready to play a full game for the first time since re-signing with the Packers on Oct. 12. Tauscher has started three of the last four games, but Barbre and Lang rotated in for some series. With Lang filling in for Clifton for much of the second half at Detroit, Tauscher played every series but one at right tackle against the Lions.

"I think Mark's ready for that," McCarthy said. "That's the outlook going into Monday night's game. We're going to head down that path. Mark's a veteran that has played a lot of football. He's come back from major injuries in the past, and he's done a very good job of communicating with the coaches and the medical staff, so we'll follow his lead.

"But we feel like we've prepared him now with the plan that we've had him on since he came back, and we feel he'll have an opportunity to play in the whole game Monday night."

Thompson out of hospital

Second-year linebacker Jeremy Thompson was released from Bellin Hospital on Saturday after spending the night there due to a neck stinger he sustained in Friday's practice.

Thompson suffered the injury trying to make a tackle of practice-squad running back Kregg Lumpkin, but never lost consciousness nor experienced paralysis after the hit.

"He's doing very well," McCarthy said. "Went through all the testing yesterday, and I had a chance to visit with Jeremy. He will have pretty much a full recovery. It was a scary situation for everybody, and we're just glad that he's going to be OK."

McCarthy was unsure if Thompson had a chance to return to the field this season.

{sportsad300}"That's to be determined," McCarthy said. "His strength level is not 100 percent, and he's going to have some soreness and some things he needs to deal with here in the near future.

"The results of the tests showed no serious injury. But still, he has to go through the process of medication, rehab and then there will be some more testing down the road."

The Packers are a little thin at outside linebacker with veteran Aaron Kampman already lost for the season with a knee injury. Veteran Brady Poppinga is expected to be the backup to both starters, rookies Brad Jones and Clay Matthews, and McCarthy said the team has given some thought to signing rookie outside backer Cyril Obiozor from the practice squad to add some depth at the position.

"We worked Obi today," McCarthy said. "I think Obi has been doing a great job. We believe in trying to develop our younger players. We're a draft-and-development philosophy, and he's done an excellent job.

"That's definitely something we'll consider over the next two days. But I think he's been doing a heck of a job."

Injury/participation update

Thompson and Kampman are both out for Monday night, and Lang is questionable.

Barbre, Clifton, linebacker Brandon Chillar (hand), running backs Ryan Grant (shoulder) and Ahman Green (groin), fullback John Kuhn (hand), quarterback Aaron Rodgers (ribs) and cornerback Charles Woodson (shoulder) are probable.

For Baltimore, tight end L.J. Smith (ankle) and linebacker Terrell Suggs (knee) are doubtful.

Safeties K.J. Gerard (thigh) and Ed Reed (ankle and hip) and cornerback Cary Williams are questionable for Monday.

Center Matt Birk (neck), linebackers Prescott Burgess (thigh), Jarret Johnson (shoulder) and Ray Lewis (foot), quarterback Joe Flacco (ankle), tackle Jared Gaither (illness), fullback Le'Ron McClain (chest), defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (ankle), and wide receivers Kelley Washington (illness) and Demetrius Williams (illness) are all probable.

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