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Sharper Expects To Play


Listening to safety Darren Sharper speak in the locker room after Friday's practice, there wasn't a doubt in his mind that he will be in uniform Sunday when the Green Bay Packers host the Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau Field.

Sharper has not played since suffering a PCL sprain in his left knee October 24 in a win over the Dallas Cowboys. The injury held the two-time Pro Bowler out of the victory following week's at Washington, and last week's bye allowed him an extra week to rehab and heal.

He returned to practice Thursday and worked with the team again Friday, wearing a brace on the knee, although not necessarily by choice.

"I practiced yesterday with it and practiced today fully with it," said Sharper. "I've got to wear it if I play - have to. It's not what I want to do, but it's one of those "doctor's orders" things."

GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman was less definite in assessing the Sharper's chances of returning to the lineup Sunday. He said that he and the team's medical staff will have to take a closer look at the video of his movements on the practice field this week. The team officially listed Sharper as questionable on Friday's injury report.

"We're going to wait and see how he is tomorrow," Sherman said. We'll run him some more tomorrow and see. I wouldn't say he's 100% just yet, but he's getting closer.

"We're going to look at the tape and see how he moves. I watched him out there - he did some good things, but I want to be sure that he's close to 100%. I don't want to put in him in a position where he might re-injure his knee, so a lot of it's going to have to do with the film evaluation and what the doctor says."

Sharper hopes to be on the field and wants to test his condition early in the game.

"I'm very optimistic," he said. "Hopefully I showed the coaches at practice enough to let me go. I was moving out there pretty well - enough to go out there and play, so that's the main thing.

"I want to hit somebody to see how it feels, but I can kind of know if it's strong enough. If I get hit or hit somebody I'll be fine. It would be nice, especially at the beginning of the game, to get it out of the way so you could kind of clear your mind."

Elsewhere on the injury front, tackle Mark Tauscher, who missed Thursday afternoon's practice after incurring a stinger while blocking on Wednesday, returned to action Friday and is probable for the game.

Fellow offensive lineman Marco Rivera (sprained ankle) and linebacker Paris Lenon (knee) also were on the practice field Friday and are listed as probable and questionable, respectively.

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