Notebook: Players Played Through Pain


Charles Woodson breaks up a pass in the end zone intended for San Francisco's Arnaz Battle.

Playing through injuries is just part of the job description for some guys in the NFL, and the Packers are glad their key players have that mentality.

In the second quarter on Sunday in San Francisco, receiver Donald Driver injured his shoulder on an unspecified play, cornerback Charles Woodson re-aggravated a shoulder injury diving to break up a deep pass to the end zone for Arnaz Battle, and receiver Greg Jennings tweaked his nagging ankle again when he was tripped up after a short gain near the goal line.

All three were receiving treatment at halftime for injuries, and Head Coach Mike McCarthy said his team was close to losing all three for the second half.

But they all returned to the field and made a notable impact in doing so. Driver hauled in a 68-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter, Woodson broke off a 40-yard punt return to set up a field goal in the fourth quarter, and Jennings caught a 17-yard pass on the Packers' final clock-consuming drive.

"I think it speaks volumes of all three of those guys returning because they all had significant injuries in the game," McCarthy said on Monday.

All three have played through injuries this season, Woodson and Jennings perhaps moreso. McCarthy said Driver's shoulder injury might keep him out of practice on Wednesday but he expects him to return to practice at some point this week and play on Sunday. Jennings' ankle tweak is at least the second setback since the original injury on Oct. 22 in Miami, but he's expected to continue playing.

Woodson likely will continue to miss one or two practices this week and get the work he needs on Friday to be ready for the game.

"We help him schedule-wise during the course of the week," McCarthy said. "He's getting up there in age, and I think it's important, particularly for your skill position players that play as physical as he does. Donald is the same way as he approaches the second half of his career. You just need to be smart with those guys."

More on injuries

Receiver Ruvell Martin sustained a chest bruise in Sunday's game and was kept overnight in a San Francisco hospital for observation as a precautionary measure. He was expected to return to Green Bay sometime on Monday.

Offensive tackle Mark Tauscher is still recovering from the groin injury that has sidelined him the past four games, and McCarthy thinks he'll be "close" to playing this week.

"I think if he doesn't make it for Detroit, I think it would be safe to say he'll be there for Minnesota (on Dec. 21)," McCarthy said.

Game balls

McCarthy mentioned two defensive players possibly in line to receive game balls for their performances on Sunday.

The first is defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins, who moved from tackle to end on several early run downs and was a factor in limiting San Francisco's Frank Gore to just 52 yards in his last 17 carries (3.1 avg.) Jenkins also played inside at defensive tackle on some passing downs and had a half-sack.

{sportsad300}The other was cornerback Al Harris, who made one of the biggest hustle plays of the season for the Packers. On Gore's 72-yard run in the first quarter, Harris raced from the opposite side of the field and was able to push Gore out of bounds at the 2-yard line. After an offensive pre-snap penalty moved the 49ers back 5 yards, they had to settle for a field goal for the game's first score.

"I think we had three broken tackles on the run, and Al saves four points," McCarthy said. "Huge play."

Harris was also a big reason San Francisco's top two receivers, Antonio Bryant and Battle, combined for just two catches for 50 yards.

Double duty

With just three days in between this week's Detroit game and next week's Minnesota contest, some of the team's practicing this week will be with an eye toward both games.

Normally with short weeks of preparation on the horizon, coaches will construct a game plan with parts that carry over to the following game, in effect getting some of the practice repetitions to work toward two games at once.

"The offensive side of the ball is fortunate because the defenses for Detroit and Minnesota are similar," McCarthy said. "As far as our defense, they're playing two different systems of football. Whatever carry-over you can have, you try to maximize that and build it into this week's practice."

Stats and such

Kicker Dave Rayner recorded his 11th touchback this season after his second-quarter field goal. His 11 touchbacks are the most by a Packers kicker since Ryan Longwell had 11 in 1997.

With his second-quarter touchdown run, Ahman Green surpassed No. 3 Sterling Sharpe (66) on Green Bay's all-time overall TDs list. Green now has 67 in a Packers uniform, having earlier surpassed No. 4 Paul Hornung (62) this season.

On the same play, Green surpassed No. 8 Sharpe (396) on the team's all-time scoring list. Green now has 402 points, having already surpassed No. 10 Clarke Hinkle (379) and No. 9 Ted Fritsch (380) this season.

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