GREEN BAY – Sam Shields isn’t quite ready to return to action, but the Green Bay Packers cornerback’s bum ankle is feeling good enough that he’s participating in practice, and he could be back to full strength in time for next week’s game against the New York Giants.
Shields, who suffered a sprained ankle at Houston on Oct. 14 and hasn’t played since, practiced on a limited basis again Thursday, serving as a scout-team wide receiver according to coach Mike McCarthy.
Here’s the full, official injury report for Thursday:
McCarthy said Shields “looked a lot better” on Thursday and that the coaches have him working as a wide receiver – the position he played his first three college seasons at Miami (Fla.) – so he can “get out there and put that foot in the ground.” McCarthy said Shields has steadily improved since Monday’s practice and Thursday’s work was “the most work Sam has had.”
Shields, meanwhile, said he’s never had an ankle injury like this, which happened when he was kicked by Neal against the Texans.
“Previously, I had foot/ankle problems, but it wasn’t serious like this. I had a chipped bone on the side of my foot, and I was out for about two weeks from that, but it wasn’t this long,” Shields said. “I thought something was broke, that’s how bad it was. I think I was going in at a tackle and Mike Neal hit me on my (right) knee and my foot was planted and it twisted. And everybody thought it was my shin because he kicked me – that’s what it made it look like – but it was my ankle. I’ve been out since then, so it’s really serious.”
With Shields sidelined, rookie Casey Hayward has stepped in and played well in as the starter. Shields said he isn’t worrying about getting his job back so much as he is about getting back to full health.
“I need to be 100 percent when I come back, but right now I’d say I’m a good 90. I’m still not there yet,” he said. “A couple more days, I’ll be ready to go. But I’m getting in, doing some (work) with the scout team, getting in just like another rehab, and just keep working. I don’t really feel the pain anymore. It’s getting a lot better.”
McCarthy said Neal, who did not practice Wednesday, was fine Thursday.
“Mike looked good today,” McCarthy said. “I watched him in individual (drills); actually (he) had probably too good of a pass rush there at the end of red zone (period). … I liked what I saw from Mike Neal.”
Quarless, who is coming back from last year’s major knee injury and was activated from the physically unable to perform list during the bye week, did not have a setback after practicing on Wednesday, McCarthy said.
“It’s part of the plan for Andrew Quarless,” McCarthy said. “We’re suspecting there are going to be days when he doesn’t respond very well from the practice before, and today was one of those days.”
In Detroit, Avril, Coleman, Houston and Johnson practiced in part after not practicing at all on Wednesday. Avril and Houston are the Lions’ biggest question marks of the four.
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There are no games scheduled for today.