GREEN BAY - The Green Bay Packers held their most rigorous practice of the week Thursday on a sunny and windy day in Northeast Wisconsin.
For the second consecutive day, all eyes were on tight end Jared Cook (ankle) and running back James Starks (knee). Both players were "cut loose" for Wednesday's non-padded session, as coach Mike McCarthy described it, and did well enough to up the intensity Thursday.
"Starks and Cook practiced well yesterday," McCarthy said Thursday morning before practice. "They're going to practice today. So this will, we'll see if we can increase their workload. And we're making progress."
Both players were full participants during a series of drills open to the media.
The Packers received more positive news on the injury front with the return of cornerback Damarious Randall, who was in pads for the first time since undergoing groin surgery. Randall took part in ball drills that involved backpedaling, flipping his hips, some light cutting and catching passes. He still remains a long shot to play this weekend but could return sooner than anticipated.
Outside linebacker Clay Matthews (hamstring) and center JC Tretter (knee) were the only players who did not practice. Neither player was present at Clarke Hinkle Field. Prior to practice, McCarthy had hoped Matthews would be more involved than he had been earlier this week. Matthews' absence suggests progress may have stalled.
"Clay, hopefully he'll do more today and today will tell us a lot, based on how much he goes," McCarthy said. "I mean he's scheduled to be in the early group, the pre-hab group, so we'll see what comes out of that."
Practice squad defensive tackle Brian Price, who spent a brief period of time on the active roster earlier this year, limped off the field with what appeared to be a foot or ankle injury. Price was taking part in a blocking drill with the offensive linemen when the injury occurred.