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GREEN BAY - Wide receiver Jeff Janis' absence from practice was short-lived, linebacker Julius Peppers was back in action and cornerback Quinten Rollins took another step toward being cleared from the concussion protocol.

The Packers were still missing four players from their Thursday padded practice inside the Don Hutson Center: receiver Jordy Nelson (ribs), center JC Tretter (knee), running back James Starks (concussion) and linebacker Jayrone Elliott (hand).

Janis had missed the Wednesday practice because of a thigh injury, but he appeared to be taking part in all the pre-practice drills and moving without discomfort. Peppers had received his usual mid-week rest day on Wednesday but looked to be taking part in everything. Peppers has sometimes been held out of Thursday practices in recent weeks, but coach Mike McCarthy said this was the most important workout of the week in preparing for the Dallas Cowboys.

"We’re focusing on the preparation aspect of this contest and we need to have a really good practice today," McCarthy said. "This is our padded practice, this is the practice we put the most into as far as the fundamental work and trying to get the specifics of what we’re going to see, particularly from their run game and what we’re going to see from them upfront, their stunts and so forth.

"They’re a unique team. They’ve had a ton of production, obviously, they’ve been very successful and this is a big preparation day for us."

Rollins' presence in pads was a pretty good sign he will be cleared to go this week. Returning to practice without recurring symptoms is part of the protocol. The last step is for an independent neurologist to clear him.

Rollins' return is certainly welcomed but it may not be necessary if coordinator Dom Capers continues to use safety Morgan Burnett as his dime cornerback. The starting corners are expected to be LaDarius Gunter and Damarious Randall and Hyde is likely to be the nickel back.

McCarthy said nothing had changed with receiver Jordy Nelson's situation and the earliest he would practice, if he does this week, would be Saturday.

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