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Packers Notebook -- Johnson Doubtful With Quad Strain


GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman isn't sure when he'll get defensive end Joe Johnson back, but he doesn't expect it will be in time for Sunday's game against the St. Louis Rams.

Johnson strained his right quadriceps in the first quarter of the Packers' 40-34 overtime loss to the Kansas City Chiefs over the weekend, and after hobbling to the sideline had to be carted to the Packers' locker room.

"I would anticipate he would be very doubtful for this week, based on how he exited the field," Sherman said Monday. "Until we see the MRI, I won't really know."

Johnson's injury is just the latest in a long line for the Packers' defensive line this season.

Chukie Nwokorie missed Sunday's game with a shoulder injury, and Aaron Kampman has been sidelined for the past four weeks with a badly sprained ankle.

The Packers re-signed fifth-year veteran Larry Smith last week, but the former Jacksonville Jaguar hasn't seen any game action since a pair of preseason games with the Packers in August.

That combination of injury and inexperience isn't comforting for a team that's struggling to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks this season.

Of the Packers' nine sacks, only 2.5 have come from the defensive line.

The Packers didn't have any sacks against Trent Green over the weekend, and Sherman suggested that was part of the reason why the Chiefs tallied 400 passing yards.

"He had too much time to throw the football," Sherman said of the Kansas City quarterback. "Anything over 2.7 (seconds) is a problem."

While the Chiefs can be credited with steady protection, the loss of Johnson no doubt hindered the Packers' ability to apply pressure Sunday.

Sherman said he's optimistic that Smith can help in the coming weeks, and both Kampman and Nwokorie could be back in the lineup by the weekend. However, if Johnson is sidelined for a significant period of time, the Packers -- like any NFL team -- will be limited in their ability to recruit reinforcements.

"You're not going to be able to go out in this league, this year or any year, and be able to get a pass rusher (midseason in free agency)," Sherman said. "We just need to play collectively as a unit at a higher level.

"As far as fixing problems, you can't really go out and get a guy now because of salary cap issues."

Nwokorie Wants In

Think it hurt to be on the field at the end of the Packers' heart-breaking loss to Kansas City over the weekend?

Imagine what it felt like to be on the sidelines.

Having aggravated in Week 5 a shoulder injury originally sustained at Chicago in Week 4, Nwokorie was among the Packers' inactives Sunday against the Chiefs in Week 6.

Nwokoie said the plan was for him to take the week off to see if it would allow enough time for his shoulder to heal. But when Johnson went down with a quadriceps injury in the first quarter, it left the Packers painfully thin along the defensive line.

"I'm really disgusted right now with the outcome of the game and I wish I had been able to play," Nwokorie said Monday. "I'm in there watching film with the guys and I feel like, man, I don't know. Should I have sucked it up and gone?

"All those guys in that room, I'll go to war with them any day. I thought they played a heck of a game and I felt bad I couldn't join them and participate in having fun and trying to accomplish winning the game. And I feel bad for them and I just wish I could have been there on the field with them."

What makes the situation even worse is that the off week seemed to do little for Nwokorie's recovery.

Nwokorie says he has decent strength and range of motion in the shoulder, but indicated that the pain is constant. And although surgery has been discussed as an offseason option, it doesn't help his current status, which has become all the more crucial in the wake of Johnson's injury.

"Either sit out or play with it," Nwokorie said. "More than likely, it's not going to get better. So that's the situation I'm kind of left with."

Nwokorie said he would attempt to practice this week.

"Who knows," he said, "maybe going out and practicing might make the pain go away."


The status of cornerback Mike McKenzie is still up in the air. McKenzie missed the second half of Sunday's game with back spasms that resulted from a pileup after a tackle. Results of an MRI conducted Monday could determine McKenzie's status for this weekend. ... Backup running back Tony Fisher aggravated his injured groin in special teams duty Sunday, but expects to be in the lineup this weekend.

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