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Notebook: Wells Returns, Expected To Start

The Packers’ offensive line has had to deal with more than its share of injuries already this season, but the unit received some good news on Friday when starting center Scott Wells returned to the practice field. - More Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Nov. 20

The Packers' offensive line has had to deal with more than its share of injuries already this season, but the unit received some good news on Friday when starting center Scott Wells returned to the practice field.

Wells had missed Thursday's padded practice after reporting concussion symptoms following Wednesday's practice. He said he thinks he sustained the concussion against Dallas, but passed a concussion test during the game and did not have any symptoms until Wednesday when he physically exerted himself for the first time since the game.

"They told me that when you have symptoms three days later, they want to be cautious with it," Wells said. "I was kind of thrown off that I felt pretty good Tuesday and then Wednesday I had some symptoms. They said it's rare but it happens, which obviously it did. Concussions are a serious thing. You can't mess around.

"Monday, yeah, you're sore but it's hard to tell what normal soreness is. I was a little cloudy, but Tuesday I felt pretty good, but I wasn't working on Tuesday. You don't know really until you get back in the work environment, but today was great."

Wells' return comes at a good time because the only other healthy center on the roster, rookie Evan Dietrich-Smith, is questionable for Sunday with an ankle injury that forced him to miss Friday's practice.

"He had a tough time (Thursday)," Head Coach Mike McCarthy said. "He fought through practice, and I'm hopeful that he'll be ready to go for Sunday. He's pretty banged up."

If Dietrich-Smith is unable to go on Sunday, guard Daryn Colledge would back up Wells at center. Colledge said he has never played in a game at that position before, but has taken some snaps during center/quarterback exchange drills the last two seasons.

The offensive line should get a boost from the return of right tackle Mark Tauscher, who re-injured his surgically repaired knee two weeks ago early in the second half at Tampa Bay and was sidelined for the Dallas game. Rookie T.J. Lang started in his place against the Cowboys, but McCarthy said Tauscher will get the start at right tackle.

Lang did get a few snaps at right tackle before Tauscher got hurt in Tampa, and McCarthy said they will see what Tauscher's endurance level is on Sunday before they make a decision on whether to utilize some type of a rotation system there. Allen Barbre, who started the first seven games of the season at right tackle, is doubtful for Sunday's game due to an ankle injury sustained in Thursday's practice.

The Packers have battled injuries on the line all season and have had to use six different starting combinations in the first nine games. Only right guard Josh Sitton has started every game at the same spot.

"I have not as a coordinator, and I can't really probably remember as an assistant coach, have had so much change as far as players missing practice time and the number of starting lineups that you have week in and week out," McCarthy said. "We felt it was an issue last year and fully was trying to move past that, and this year it's been a challenge even more so up to this point.

"You can't control the injury list, and we're just trying to get healthy, but more importantly trying to get ready to play games. We know we've got a big physical game Sunday, so I'm confident that today's practice gave us a chance to hit the continuity that we were trying to get all week."

The lack of stability on the line has contributed to the struggles in pass protection with the Packers allowing a league-high 41 sacks, but Wells said that isn't an excuse for the difficulties.

{sportsad300}"The bottom line is we haven't executed as well as we should have," Wells said. "Whatever you want to throw in there on why that is, that's your opinion. I'm not going to state or make any excuse for that.

"We have to execute better, and it falls on all 11 guys on the field. Each sack has been from something different. It's seldom somebody just getting dominated."

After the Packers host the 49ers on Sunday, they have just four days until they travel to Detroit for a Thanksgiving contest against the Lions. The hope now is that the five linemen who start on Sunday will be able to stay healthy as they head into the final stretch of the season.

"It would be great to go out there and get a streak of the same starting five and be able to practice with the same five each day," Wells said. "That definitely helps when that happens, but when it doesn't happen and it's not a possibility for that week you have to have guys step in and step up their performance and not skip a beat."

Injury/participation update

Barbre is doubtful for Sunday, and Dietrich-Smith and running back Ahman Green (groin) are questionable. Green was added to the report after he sustained the injury near the end of Thursday's practice.

Clifton was added to the injury report as a limited participant (not injury related), but the team is not required to list his status. The limited work on Friday has been Clifton's normal routine.

Wells, Tauscher, linebackers Desmond Bishop (ankle), Brandon Chillar (hand), Aaron Kampman (concussion), Brad Jones (concussion), Clay Matthews (jaw) and Brady Poppinga (quad), tight end Jermichael Finley (knee), defensive ends Cullen Jenkins (ankle) and Johnny Jolly (back), fullback John Kuhn (hand) and cornerback Charles Woodson are all probable for Sunday after participating fully in Friday's practice.

For San Francisco, cornerback Nate Clements (shoulder) and tackle Joe Staley (knee) are out. Linebacker Takeo Spikes (hamstring) was a limited participant on Friday after not practicing Wednesday or Thursday and is questionable.

Wide receivers Isaac Bruce (ankle and elbow) and Michael Crabtree (knee), running backs Glen Coffee (concussion) and Michael Robinson (not injury related), defensive tackles Demetric Evans (shoulder) and Justin Smith (back), safeties Michael Lewis (quad) and Mark Roman (knee), and tackle/guard Adam Snyder (shoulder) are all probable for Sunday.

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