Notebook: Injuries Healing Up In Time

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The news was as good as could be expected on the injury front for the Green Bay Packers on Friday.

Of the 17 players on the report, 13 of them have been ruled probable for Sunday's game against San Diego, meaning it's a virtual certainty they'll be available for regular duty.

That includes receivers Greg Jennings and James Jones, who have both been battling hamstring injuries. Jennings' was the more serious strain and it kept him out of the season's first two games, but he is expected to make his 2007 regular-season debut on Sunday.

That should provide a boost to the offense, which will get its top three receivers on the field together for the first time. Jones tweaked his hamstring in practice on Thursday but felt fine on Friday and is also probable for the game. Both Jennings and Jones were limited participants in Friday's practice.

"Talking with both Greg and James post-practice, they felt they went through the practice OK, so we'll just forge ahead," Head Coach Mike McCarthy said.

"(With) hamstring injuries with your perimeter players, it's important to get them back to 100 percent, because if you don't, you're in a continuous pattern that you don't want to be in as far as (being) up and down."

The other position group that has been the most banged up has been the defensive line, but ends Aaron Kampman (rib) and Cullen Jenkins (wrist), along with tackles Corey Williams (ankle) and Johnny Jolly (heel) are all probable. Jenkins and Williams were full participants on Friday, while Kampman and Jolly were limited.

Same goes for cornerbacks Al Harris (back) and Charles Woodson (hip), neither of whom practiced on Wednesday or Thursday this week. They returned Friday on a limited basis and are probable.

While the offensive line lost Tony Palmer to a season-ending neck injury, tackle Chad Clifton (ankle), guard Jason Spitz (calf) and tackle Tony Moll (neck) are on the mend and are probable. Clifton and Moll were full participants on Friday, with Spitz limited.

Spitz played sparingly last week at less than 100 percent because the injury to Palmer pushed him into action. Moll has missed all the preseason and both regular-season games thus far after sustaining a stinger early in training camp, but he'll be available as a reserve up front. Clifton missed one series with his bad ankle last week but returned to the game and is ready to go.

Tight end Bubba Franks (knee) also returned to full duty and is probable.

Rookie safety Aaron Rouse also could make his NFL debut after missing the final preseason game and the first two regular season games with a hamstring injury. He was a full participant in practice on Friday, and if he is active on game day, his most likely action would come on special teams.

The four players on the report who are not probable for Sunday's game are Palmer, who was placed on injured reserve Thursday; defensive end Michael Montgomery (knee), who hasn't played yet this season and is still out; running back Vernand Morency (knee) who is listed as doubtful; and rookie linebacker Desmond Bishop, who was added to the injury report on Friday and is questionable with a shoulder injury.

McCarthy said Bishop sprained the shoulder in last week's game and then aggravated the injury during a blitz drill in Thursday's practice.

Adjusting to the 3-4

The Packers don't face a 3-4 defense like San Diego's very often, and they'll be looking for a better performance than they had against this scheme last year.

{sportsad300}McCarthy said there are two types of 3-4's, which is so named because it features three down linemen and four linebackers, as opposed to the traditional 4-3, with four down linemen and three linebackers. McCarthy likened the type of 3-4 the Chargers play to what the Packers saw against the Patriots and Jets last season, and neither of those games went well.

The Packers scored just 10 points total in those two games and suffered blowout losses at home. The key is to be able to establish a running game because if the offense becomes too reliant on the pass, it's playing right into the hands of a 3-4.

"It's really built to take away the run and try to get you in a one-dimensional game of passing," McCarthy said. "But it's just like any defense. It has its strengths, and in my opinion you need to attack it, and also you need to try to create situations, angles, however you want to view it, to give you a better opportunity running the football."

Another challenge is handling the blitz. Running back Brandon Jackson said the four linebacker alignment gives the defense more blitzing options, but generally speaking it's up to the offensive tackles and tight ends to pick up the outside linebackers if they rush, and it's up to the running backs to pick up the inside linebackers if they're coming.

"You never know where the blitz is coming from sometimes," Jackson said. "It's a little tougher."

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