Packers News: Cobb, Nelson, Starks probable, Justin Smith ready

Jordy Nelson is probable for Saturday against the 49ers.
Jordy Nelson is probable for Saturday against the 49ers.
Jordy Nelson is probable for Saturday against the 49ers.

The Green Bay Packers have been bitten by the injury bug perhaps more than any NFL team this season. But headed into their divisional round matchup against the San Francisco 49ers, the Packers are getting healthier.

Running back James Starks (knee) is set to return to the field for the Packers. Starks hasn’t played since Dec. 2 when he carried the ball 15 times for 66 yards and a touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings.

Prior to his injury, Starks had taken over as the team’s feature back. He had carried the ball at least 15 times in three of the team’s previous four games.

But since being forced to sit out, DuJuan Harris has taken over as the starting running back. In the past two weeks, Harris has carried the ball 31 times for 117 yards and a touchdown. He’s only caught seven passes for 70 yards.

Exactly what the Packers plan to do at running back is unknown, but one would expect Harris to get the bulk of the work against the 49ers.

Wide receivers Jordy Nelson (ankle) and Randall Cobb (flu) both practiced in full on Friday. Like Starks, both players are listed as probable and are scheduled to play in San Francisco, giving the Packers their full repertoire of core wide receivers for the second-consecutive week. Greg Jennings and James Jones are also healthy and ready to go.

Fellow wide receiver Jarrett Boykin will not play this week. Boykin suffered an ankle injury in week 17 against the Vikings.

The flu has been making its way around the Packers’ locker room recently. Tramon Williams was sent home with flu-like symptoms in the week leading up to last week’s game, and several players have caught the illness since, including quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

“I know this sickness thing is going around. I think I didn’t get the real bad stuff, that some of the guys have that had to go home, not that I would have been able to go home anyway if I wasn’t feeling; if I was feeling horrendous. … I’m hoping with a couple of good nights of sleep I will be 100 percent.”

On his weekly radio show, Rodgers told Jason Wilde of ESPN Milwaukee he’s not worried about the illness.

“I’m not worried about me being sick, I have some good medicine and I’m feeling good, better. A couple days ago I didn’t feel good at all, but I’m feeling progressively better.”

Everyone who was dealing with injury or illness this week is listed as probable for this weekend. Jermichael Finley (hamstring), Alex Green (knee), Clay Matthews (knee) and Dezman Moses (hamstring) all appear ready to go for this weekend’s game.

For the 49ers, defensive end Justin Smith is expected to return in the divisional round.

“God willing and the creek don’t rise, he’s going to play,” 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said.

The four-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman suffered a partially torn triceps Dec. 16 at New England. With Smith on the sideline, the 49ers allowed 31 second-half points against the Patriots and gave up 42 points to the Seattle Seahawks one week later.

Smith will wear a brace for protection but how effective he’ll be is a big question mark headed into Saturday night’s showdown.

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Follow @MJEversoll

Marques is a Journalism student, serving as the Sports Editor of UW-Green Bay\'s campus newspaper The Fourth Estate and a Packers writer at Jersey Al\'s AllGBP.com. Follow Marques on Twitter @MJEversoll.

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  • GBPDAN

    Im glad our injured players are somewhat healthy. As much as I was elated to beat the queens in the playoffs and send them packing, im equally disappointed that the queens knocked us out of the 2nd seed. The extra week off would have helped the Packers heal and be well rested for this game. It would have also caused the Forty Niners 2 play last week which would not have helped they’re injured players. Also, playing at Lambeau Field would have been an advantage.

    I will now look at the positive side of playing in the wild card weekend. It gave our players a practice game to keep them sharp and playing in warmer weather may help our passing game. So here’s to a on the road victory and a trip to the Super Bowl. Go Packers!!

  • Wagszilla

    The Packers need to steal the 49ers nutrition guy and fire their strength and conditioning coach.

    8 games missed by starters is an absurd statistic given the 49ers teams’ age.

    • Bubbaloo

      It’s called “Luck”!

    • Bubbaloo

      And replacing the Strength and Conditioning coach with a dietician sounds like a good idea too! Maybe they can all lose a few pounds!

  • Jeff

    Hard to say why the Packers have had so many injuries 2 out of 3 years now. Hopefully this will be a repeat of 2010. Today is a huge test. If they can beat the 9ers at their place, they can beat anyone.At this point it doesn’t matter how they do, just that they get it done.