GREEN BAY - About a week ago, coach Mike McCarthy mentioned that cornerback Sam Shields had begun participating in positional and defensive meetings for the first time since suffering a concussion in the season opener against Jacksonville. It was a positive sign at the time. It seemed like Shields might make a return sooner rather than later.
But McCarthy's tone dimmed Tuesday when asked about Shields' future. It appears the return to meetings — and a subsequent social media post from Shields indicating an impending return — were not as telling as they originally believed.
"Well, I mean the plan for Sam is to get him healthy, No. 1," McCarthy said. "It's going to be longer than we might have expected. Just going off the last conversation I've had with Sam, it's just important to go one day at a time and make sure we get him healthy."
As such, McCarthy ruled Shields out for Thursday's game against the Chicago Bears. It will be his sixth consecutive game missed and 10th out of the last 12 dating back to last season, when he suffered another concussion in December.
Without Shields, the cornerback scenario remains a mess. Damarious Randall (groin) and Quinten Rollins (groin) will not practice Tuesday, according to McCarthy, and their availability against the Bears is up in the air.
Randall left Sunday's game after aggravating the groin injury that sidelined him for the win over the New York Giants. He left in the second quarter and did not return.
Rollins injured himself during practice on Saturday and was ruled out later that afternoon. After the loss to the Cowboys, McCarthy said Rollins would not be healthy enough to play against the Bears. On Tuesday, however, he seemed to hold out a glimmer of hope.
"Damarious and Quinten will be part of the rehab group," McCarthy said of Tuesday's session.
If all three players are unable to go, the Packers will once again rely on LaDarius Gunter and Demetri Goodson as two of their primary contributors. It's possible that rookie Josh Hawkins, who did not play from scrimmage against the Cowboys, may see a few snaps as well.
Defensive back Micah Hyde and safety Morgan Burnett would likely play in the nickel and dime.
The Packers were without seven players at Tuesday's practice, which was held outdoors on a beautiful fall afternoon in Green Bay. WR Davante Adams (concussion), CB Damarious Randall (groin), CB Quinten Rollin (groin), RB Eddie Lacy (ankle), S Chris Banjo (hamstring), CB Sam Shields (concussion) and TE Jared Cook (ankle) did not participate.
Center Corey Linsley returned to practice for the first time since the spring. Linsley remains on the PUP list with a hamstring injury — he did not take part in any of training camp — but went through a few drills with his fellow offensive linemen. Linsley is allowed to practice for up to three weeks before the Packers must make a decision about whether to activate him or place him on injured reserve.
New running back Knile Davis was on the field for the first time as well. Davis, who arrived in Green Bay through a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs, will wear No. 30 for the Packers.