Tom Silverstein and Ryan Wood discuss what Green Bay must do against Dallas' vaunted running attack and ways to deal with Jordy Nelson's likely absence. (Jan. 11, 2017) USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin
GREEN BAY – Linebacker Blake Martinez and fullback Aaron Ripkowski appear ready to go Sunday, but both were a little nervous about their injuries last week.
Martinez got hit from the side and injured the same knee he sprained against Washington in Week 11, causing him to miss three games. As soon as it happened, he feared a setback.
“I think, yeah, when it first happened, obviously it was the same knee, and I think when it happened it was a little frightening,” Martinez said. “But after a while, it was kind of one of those things where it hits you, and you’re kind of freaking out at first, but then you slowly get the feeling back and start moving around a little bit.
“I was good to go after that.”
The Packers probably will need Martinez to help play the run against the Dallas Cowboys. He expects to be ready.
“Feeling good,” he said. “Today, I kind of went through everything practice-wise, and kind of just slowly gaining confidence for it and taking it day by day.”
Ripkowski’s fears came from a shoulder injury that flared up in practice Saturday, requiring him to go on the injury report. All along, Ripkowski felt he was ready to play, but he was concerned the medical staff didn’t agree.
“It wasn’t really one injury,” the second-year fullback said. “It was one of those things it wasn’t that bad, but you get dinged up you have to report it. I wasn’t sure what their thought process was. I hadn’t been in that position. I was a little worried.”
As it turned out, Ripkowski was cleared and played 25 snaps.
Well rested: While the Packers were busy eliminating the New York Giants from the playoffs, the Cowboys enjoyed a week off courtesy of their 13-3 record in the regular season and one of two first-round byes.
But rather than give his players the majority of the week off, coach Jason Garrett said they practiced a few times to stay sharp.
"It was good," Garrett said in a conference call with Wisconsin media. "We got a chance to get some guys healed up. We practiced a couple days last week. Guys did a good job with that and back into the regular routine of a Sunday game.
"Any time you get a chance to give your guys a chance to freshen up a little bit, I think it helps you."
It seems to have worked. Star tailback Ezekiel Elliott, who led the league in rushing by more than 300 yards, said it felt like everyone was back on the field when the Cowboys resumed a normal schedule this week.
"So I think today is probably the best (session) that we’ve had all year," he said. "We look really fresh, really energized and really ready to come out and play Sunday."
Injury report: Receiver Jeff Janis (quadricep), linebacker Julius Peppers (rest), running back James Starks (concussion) and center JC Tretter (knee) did not practice.
Starks remains in the concussion protocol following a head injury suffered in a car accident in mid-December. McCarthy said in his Wednesday news conference that Starks isn’t close to being cleared.
"He hasn’t made progress," McCarthy said. "He’s kind of at a point, that's all I can say. He's in the protocol."
Tretter, who damaged his MCL against the Atlanta Falcons, was on the 46-man active roster for Sunday's win over the Giants but he did not see the field. He had been a full participant in practice last week.
Cornerback Quinten Rollins (neck/concussion) practiced for the first time since his scary fall in Detroit during Week 17. He was a limited participant and remains in the concussion protocol.