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Packers Notebook - McKenzie Could Be Game-Time Decision


About to face an Oakland Raiders offense with two of the greatest receivers in NFL history in Jerry Rice and Tim Brown, the Green Bay Packers could be without their top cornerback Monday night.

Through Saturday, fifth-year veteran Mike McKenzie has yet to practice this week as he recovers from a case of turf toe on his right foot, and could be a game-time decision.

"It's going to be a wait-and-see," GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman said Saturday. "Normally those turf toes take a bit of time (to heal), so we're just waiting until Monday and we'll see how it plays out."

McKenzie continues to receive treatment on his foot and is expected to test it with some running Sunday.

McKenzie sustained the injury last weekend against the San Diego Chargers, but continued to play, making five tackles in the game.

If McKenzie can't play, Michael Hawthorne would get the start, with Bhawoh Jue also available to take his place. But Sherman isn't ruling McKenzie out yet.

"He's been in all our meetings," Sherman said. "He's well schooled in what we're going to do. He's preparing to play."

Hawthorne, who was picked up by the Packers in September after three seasons with the New Orleans Saints, has 17 tackles and three passes defensed in 12 games as a reserve this season.

Although hopeful McKenzie can play Monday, Hawthorne said he'd enjoy the opportunity to start.

"It's an unfortunate situation," Hawthorne said. "But it's also a time for me to show what I can do."

Family Ties

Monday night's game will be a family affair for Packers defensive end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, who for the first time in his life will share the same field, but wear different uniforms than his brother Akbar Gbaja-Biamila, who is a rookie defensive end for the Raiders.

"We've competed against each other in the house, but this is organized sports," Kabeer said this week. "It's weird. Of course I want him to do well, in spite of the fact that I'm a Packer, but I want my team to win."

As for which team the Gbaja-Biamilas' extended family would be rooting for, Kabeer wasn't sure. But he was certain that they wouldn't be wearing green and gold into the notoriously raucous environment at Network Associates Coliseum, which has earned the nickname the Black Hole.

"I told them to wear Raiders (attire) so they would be safe," Kabeer said.

Apparently that word of warning didn't reach Akbar, who reportedly plans to wear Kabeer's No. 94 Packers jersey on his way to the game Monday night.

"Players always wear mostly like Joe Montana throwback (jerseys)," Kabeer said. "I guess he's going to wear my jersey. That's just the kind of guy Akbar is."

Giving Life

They met at a sandwich shop. And later she saved his life. And then became his wife.

This Sunday, Dec. 21, ESPN's Outside The Lines will tell the remarkable story of former Packers running back John Brockington, who had a kidney transplant in 2001 and later married the woman who donated the organ.

"A guy owned a sandwich shop and said that there was a lady that was a big Green Bay Packers fan and that I was her favorite player," Brockington described last weekend as he watched the Packers-Chargers game in San Diego.

"We met and became good friends and when I started having kidney problems in 2000, she was the one who helped me out. Eventually, she became my wife.

"It was a pretty good challenge, but we got through it."

Brockington, now 55, led the Packers in rushing for five seasons from 1971-75.

Outside The Lines airs at 8:30 a.m. CT. Check your local listings for more information.

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