Sharper: Better Than 50-Percent Chance Of Playing


Injured safety Darren Sharper went through some rehab and conditioning drills, but did not participate in the Packers' practice Thursday.

The sixth-year pro, who earned his second Pro Bowl nod this season, has been sidelined since tearing his medial collateral ligament (MCL) during an interception return against the Buffalo Bills (Dec. 22).

Sharper is listed as questionable for Saturday's playoff game against the Atlanta Falcons, but said Wednesday that he thinks there's a better than 50-percent chance that he will play this weekend.

The injured knee has healed to the point where Sharper is comfortable running straight ahead, but still lacks the stability necessary to make sharp cuts.

With the Packers looking to fight off playoff elimination Saturday, Sharper said he wants to be on the field, but that he wouldn't try to force his way into the lineup if unready.

"I want to be out there as bad as anyone, but I have to be smart," Sharper said. "I can't look at it as a personal decision ... Even though it is playoff time, you want to put a guy out there that can contribute. You don't want to put a guy out there that's at risk."

Sharper has worn a stabilizing brace since sustaining the injury, but said he would prefer to go without it if he can play Saturday. Instead, he would like to have his knee heavily taped, saying that a defender wearing a brace would be a "marked man."

If Sharper is unable to play, he would again be replaced in the starting lineup by Matt Bowen, who had seven tackles and a pass breakup against the Jets last weekend.

Packers GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman said he would be disappointed, but not discouraged if Sharper were inactive Saturday.

"If Darren can play, obviously you want your Pro Bowl safety in the game," Sherman said. "But if he can't, I'm totally confident the guys we put on the field will do a fine job."

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