Shoulder Injury Forces Bigby to Bench
Next game: Sunday, December 14th at Jacksonville
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -- Green Bay Packers safety Atari Bigby hasn't been his big, bad self all season because of injuries. And it's probably showing up in the team's disappointing defensive performances.
Bigby, a former practice squad member whose hard-hitting, athletic play provided a surprise boost to the defense last season, has been banged up all year.
First came a preseason ankle injury that is still lingering today. Then came a hamstring injury that forced him to miss five games. Now Bigby has been ruled out for the second week in a row because of a shoulder injury.
In Bigby's absence, Charles Woodson is expected to play safety for the third game in a row. But McCarthy isn't necessarily giving up on getting Bigby back for the final two games of the regular season.
"The feedback I get, he's feeling better," McCarthy said. "I think his shoulder is something that he'll be able to overcome here in the near future, be it this week or next week. Probably more so next week. I don't anticipate him probably being ready this week. But he also has the ankle issue. That's still there."
HARRELL HURT: Oft-injured Packers defensive tackle Justin Harrell sat out Wednesday's practice with a hip injury that has been bothering him for several weeks. McCarthy said Harrell likely would sit out Thursday's practice and be re-evaluated Friday.
Harrell missed the first seven games after having back surgery in the offseason, but his progress has been limited since he rejoined the team.
"He's never really been able to get healthy," McCarthy said. "His snaps have been limited, and I thought there was some progress in the pass rush part of it, and a little progress in the run blocking. Once again, he's a young player that's kind of going through a medical stage right now. We just have to keep working with him to get through it."
After becoming the Packers' first-round draft pick last year, Harrell missed much of the team's offseason workout program as he recovered from a torn biceps and was inactive for the first four games. Then he missed five more games with an ankle injury.
"Injuries are part of our game," McCarthy said. "They're frustrating for everybody involved. More importantly, I know they're frustrating for the player. I've seen individuals go through this at different points in their career, and I think Justin is going through a rough patch with injuries."
PRO BOWL BOUND? With NFL players preparing to cast their Pro Bowl ballots, Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings admitted earning his first trip to Hawaii was on his mind.
"I'm thinking about it simply because we've got to vote tomorrow, and because my name is probably going to be out there and I've heard it from my teammates every single second," Jennings said Wednesday.
Jennings has a strong resume, with 66 catches for 1,131 yards and seven touchdowns this season. But if he doesn't make it, he insists it won't bother him.
"It is what it is," Jennings said. "If I make it, I make it. If I don't, I don't. I wouldn't say it's a goal of mine -- I have aspirations of making the Pro Bowl, but I really don't honestly set goals where it's individually based. For the most part I just take our team goals and roll with those and the individual things come with that."
And, he added, "I would give it up to be 10-3."
NOTES: McCarthy said it would be a challenge for FB Korey Hall (knee) to play Sunday. "Korey thinks he's going to make it, so we'll see where he is on Friday," McCarthy said. ... LB Brandon Chillar (groin) was limited in practice Wednesday. ... The Packers signed CB Joshua Abrams, DT Fred Bledsoe and RB Steven Korte to their practice squad. Bledsoe returns after a stint on the practice squad earlier this season.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)