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Packers' Jennings unsure if he'll be ready to play at Houston

The SportsXchange

Top receiver Greg Jennings said more than once Thursday that "time will tell" how soon he can get back on the field after coping with a nagging groin injury the last two weeks.

Coach Mike McCarthy is hoping the timing of the Packers' next game, Sunday night at the unbeaten Houston Texans, will work to the benefit of his injury-plagued team.

McCarthy stressed Thursday a rush to judgment won't be made on the starting trio of Jennings, tight end Jermichael Finley and nose tackle B.J. Raji, all of whom have been regulars in the training room this week.

"We'll give the (injured) veteran players all the way to the game," McCarthy said. "Especially it being a Sunday night game, you've got all the extra treatment Saturday night down there (at the hotel) and all day Sunday."

Friday could be a telling day for all three players. That would be the one and only day of the week any or all of them could be put through practice after they have been held out thus far.

Raji (sprained left ankle) and Finley (dislocated shoulder) suffered game-ending injuries in the Packers' 30-27 loss at Indianapolis last Sunday.

Finley vowed Wednesday he would play against the Texans. Raji isn't as certain about his availability.

Meanwhile, Jennings is realistic about his situation, acknowledging he and the medical staff are being extra cautious this go-around with the aggravated groin injury after he had a setback earlier in the season. Jennings originally suffered the injury in the Sept. 9 season opener, missed the next game and then played the next two weeks, only to re-injure the groin in the first half of the Week 4 win over New Orleans.

He didn't play against the Colts.

Jennings said he hasn't been able to attempt to run at full speed in his latest recovery.

"I'm trying to make sure we do the things we need to do before we go out there and attack it physically when it comes to actually running on the field and different things like that, so that we won't have (another) setback," Jennings said.

The Packers already will be down one starter on offense for Sunday's game. Veteran halfback Cedric Benson went on injured reserve/designated to return Wednesday because of a fractured left foot. He won't be able to play for at least two months.

Second-year player Alex Green is penciled in to replace Benson in the starting lineup, though James Starks and possibly Brandon Saine could factor in a playing rotation at the position, along with versatile fullback John Kuhn.

The Packers also could be short-handed at tight end. Besides the uncertainty with Finley, backup D.J. Williams is iffy to play after suffering a hamstring injury in practice Wednesday. Williams didn't practice Thursday.

"Obviously, D.J. was a big part of our planning (for the game)," McCarthy said after Thursday's practice. "He's never had a hamstring injury before, so this is new territory for him. We'll see where he is (Friday)."
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