Notebook: Martin Ready To Go

The Packers have yet to have all five wide receivers active for a game this season, and that will likely continue Sunday at Tampa Bay with James Jones doubtful with a knee injury. But Jones’ absence should be alleviated by the return of wide receiver Ruvell Martin, who missed the last two games with a finger injury. - More Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Sept. 26

The Packers have yet to have all five wide receivers active for a game this season, and that will likely continue Sunday at Tampa Bay with James Jones doubtful with a knee injury. But Jones' absence should be alleviated by the return of wide receiver Ruvell Martin, who missed the last two games with a finger injury.

Martin was not on the injury report for the first time this season and participated fully in all three practices this week. After wearing a club-like cast to protect the finger the past few weeks, Martin was down to just a smaller splint during Friday's practice.

"He caught the ball well today," Head Coach Mike McCarthy said. "I think he's relieved just to have the club off his hand. They went with some form of brace and the one they used today, it's actually going to be a lot smaller during the game."

Martin admitted it was a strange feeling to finally play without the club on his hand, but said he isn't concerned about the adjustment to live action Sunday.

"It was just a little different because I got used to not using my left hand," Martin said. "I got used to that after two weeks of doing that, but I don't expect that to last very long at all.

"I went out and caught some extra balls after practice and it's coming around. It feels fine, no issues with it at all."

While saying it was difficult to miss games at Detroit and vs. Dallas, Martin said by taking time off the hope is that the injury will not linger for the entire season.

"If I would have continued on playing with it, the doctor said it would not have got better," Martin said. "It would have continued getting worse or stayed the same, but now that I have had the two or three weeks of basically rest on it, it should continue on to get better even though I'm playing."

Jones might look to take the same approach with his knee injury, initially sustained in the preseason at Denver. After missing the season opener against Minnesota, he started at Detroit and caught four passes for 29 yards and a touchdown.

Jones re-injured the knee in the first quarter last Sunday against Dallas, returned briefly in the second quarter, but missed most of the second half.

"I need to make sure I am 100 percent," Jones said. "That's the main goal right now, make sure I am 100 percent so when I get back out there on that football field I'm not thinking about my knee when I am running routes and things like that."

Harris update

Head Coach Mike McCarthy said cornerback Al Harris will be sidelined at least three to four weeks with the spleen injury he suffered in last Sunday's game vs. Dallas, but added that doctors believe the injury will heal on its own.

McCarthy said Harris would likely start doing some form of conditioning work Monday, and then would have more tests in the coming weeks. With speculation earlier in the week that Harris could be out for the season, the possibility of a return in '08 was welcome news.

"First, you worry about him personally," McCarthy said. "Just the number of conversations that Al and I had throughout Monday, it was tough to see someone go through what he was going through, never been hurt and really not feeling like he shouldn't be able to play.

"Once we crossed over that barrier and moved into gathering as much information, really, injuries like this go back to a personal nature. You're just glad it's not anything that could be life-threatening or as serious as it possibly could be."

This Sunday will be the first game Harris has missed in his 11-year career, ending a streak of 175 straight games (including playoffs) played. Second-year cornerback Tramon Williams will get the start in his place.

Hot and cold

Sunday will likely be just the second game in McCarthy's tenure as head coach where the temperature is 80 degrees or higher.

From his time on the coaching staff in New Orleans, McCarthy has now dealt with both ends of the weather spectrum. He said he believes the adjustment is greater for a southern team heading north than vice versa.

"I can recall being in New Orleans, and we played a game in Cincinnati," McCarthy said. "We had to win one of three games to get in the playoffs, and we had favorable records to the three teams we played.

"We played in Cincinnati and it was like 34 degrees, and (Saints head coach) Jim Haslett and I, we're both from Pittsburgh, and I'm not lying to you, I looked at him during the game and said, 'Are you cold?' And he goes, 'I'm freezing my butt off.' It felt like it was 50 below, and it was 34 degrees outside."

{sportsad300}Old friends on opposite sidelines

McCarthy and Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden will face each other for the first time Sunday as head coaches.

The pair worked together at the University of Pittsburgh on Paul Hackett's staff in 1991, McCarthy as assistant quarterbacks coach and Gruden as wide receivers coach.

"Jon is a good man," McCarthy said. "We had a lot of fun the year we spent together."

McCarthy took over coaching the wide receivers in '92 for the Panthers after Gruden left to join the Packers' staff under Mike Holmgren, where he spent three seasons.

"I'll never forget it (time with the Packers)," Gruden said. "I've still got some really good friends there. Every once in a while when we get a cold draft of wind through the ceiling here in the middle of February I think about those old days in Green Bay.

"I had a great time and great memories. I'm really proud to be associated with that organization."

Injury/participation update

In addition to Jones, safety Atari Bigby (hamstring), fullback Korey Hall and running back Kregg Lumpkin (hamstring) are doubtful for Sunday.

McCarthy said Aaron Rouse will start at strong safety if Bigby is unable to play.

Listed as probable are tackle Chad Clifton (knees), safeties Nick Collins (back) and Rouse (knee), guard Josh Sitton (knee) and cornerback Charles Woodson (toe).

Defensive end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila (knee), who was not on the injury report on Wednesday or Thursday, was added on Friday but is probable for Sunday.

For Tampa Bay, wide receiver Joey Galloway (foot) is out and linebacker Derrick Brooks (hamstring) is questionable. Kicker Matt Bryant, whose infant son passed away earlier in the week, is also listed as questionable.

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