When injured nose tackles Grady Jackson and James Lee rejoined their teammates on the practice field Wednesday, there was guarded optimism that the pair of big men could be back on the field in game action perhaps by next week.
Less than 48 hours from kickoff from Sunday's game against the Dallas Cowboys, both players are hoping for an even swifter return to the field. Though each of them were listed as questionable (50-50 chance of suiting up) on Friday's injury report, Jackson and Lee both felt good about their chances of returning to the field Sunday.
Jackson, who was on the practice field for all three practice sessions this week, said Friday he thinks he would be able to play about 30 snaps in Sunday's contest. He said he felt no affects from getting back to some contact, and isn't worried about the possibility of another injury.
"I feel pretty good," said Jackson. "We'll see how my knee reacts to it. It's going to be a game time decision. You've just got to block it out, stay focused and play."
GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman said Friday that it will be up to the team's medical staff as to whether or not Jackson will be anchoring the defensive line for the first time since the first quarter of the season opener in Carolina.
"It's going to be a doctor's call on him," Sherman said. "We don't have to make that call until Sunday, just take every day as it is. If we think he can play and not re-injure himself, then he will play. If we think there's an outside chance that he could re-injure himself, then we'd hold him back."
Lee was held out of practice Friday due to some swelling in his knee, but he is confident his work on Wednesday and Thursday will have him prepared to play.
Sherman was also unsure as to whether Lee, who started in place of Jackson in week two, would be back in uniform against the Cowboys.
"He had some swelling, as expected," the coach said. "I think he'll be OK, but just thought we'd take the precaution of holding him back a little bit even though he could have used the reps obviously."
The player, on the other hand, was fairly certain that he'll be ready to go.
"I'm ready for Sunday," Lee said. "I'm ready to go out there and prove that the leg's not a bother. The doctors just told me today to take it easy."
In other injury news in Packer camp, wide receiver Robert Ferguson returned to practice for the first time this week Friday, and declared that he is definitely ready to play Sunday. Ferguson sat out last Sunday's game in Detroit with calf and ankle ailments after being injured last week in practice.
Ferguson said he felt much better this Friday than he did seven days ago.
"It's totally different," said Ferguson. "Last Friday I felt like was about 20-30%. This Friday I feel like I'm 100%."
When asked if the rest he received by not practicing the previous days helped in his recovery, Ferguson let reporters know that he hadn't exactly been sitting around hoping to get better.
"I wouldn't necessarily call it rest what I was doing," he said. "I was pretty much rehabbing all day, so I wouldn't call it rest. I think I just did the right things to get me back on the field."
Wolf On Hall Nomination List
The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced its list of preliminary nominees for the Class of 2005 this week. Among those included on the list was former Packers' Executive Vice President and General Manager Ron Wolf, who already holds a place in the Packers Hall of Fame.
From the preliminary list of 89 nominees, Hall of Fame selectors will choose 25 candidates who will advance as semi-finalist nominees. The list of 25 semi-finalists will be announced later next month.
The 25 semi-finalists list will be reduced by a mail ballot to 13 modern-era candidates. That list will increase to 15 finalists with the addition of two previously announced Senior Committee nominees, Benny Friedman and Fritz Pollard.
The Class of 2005 will be selected from the list of 15 finalists. The actual voting will be conducted at the Selection Committee's annual meeting, which will be held on Saturday, February 5, 2005, in Jacksonville, Florida, the day before Super Bowl XXXIX. The election results will be announced immediately after the meeting at a press conference in the media headquarters. While there is no set number for any class of enshrinees, the ground rules provide that between three and six new members will be selected.