Packers notes: Jimmy Graham outlook improves, Jake Kumerow status uncertain
GREEN BAY - If Thursday’s practice was any indication, Green Bay Packers tight end Jimmy Graham may be able to play Sunday at Minnesota.
Graham, who suffered a broken left thumb against Seattle a week ago, took part in the portion of practice open to the media Thursday and appeared to be functioning well. Graham had his thumb heavily taped, but he didn’t seem to have any trouble catching the ball.
Whether Graham can block is another matter, but it’s possible coach Mike McCarthy could have his starting tight end available on passing downs.
“He’s going to work the new attachment and see how it (goes),” McCarthy said before the start of practice. “It usually takes the week to get it right.”
The Packers practiced in pads and won’t practice again until their jog-through on Saturday, so Graham has a little bit of time to see how the thumb responds to catching passes.
If Graham can’t play, rookie Robert Tonyan’s snaps are going to go up significantly, especially after his 54-yard touchdown pass against the Seahawks. Even if Graham does play, Tonyan should see some more action.
Elsewhere on the injury front, safety Kentrell Brice (ankle) was on the sideline after trying to practice Wednesday. Brice was working out with a trainer during practice but sitting out is not a good sign for his availability Sunday.
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Wide receiver Randall Cobb (hamstring) put in considerable work on the side Wednesday, but he did not take part in route-running drills during the open portion of practice. McCarthy said Cobb was getting close to returning but did not predict whether he’d be available for the Vikings.
For the second straight day, cornerback Kevin King (hamstring), cornerback Bashaud Breeland (groin), defensive end Mike Daniels (foot), linebacker Nick Perry (knee), safety Raven Greee (ankle) and guard Lucas Patrick (concussion) did not practice.
It’s unlikely any of them will play Sunday night. The Packers’ final injury report will not be released until Friday.
The Packers have only four healthy defensive linemen on their 53-man roster and they’re going to have to add someone by Sunday.
Their two best options are practice squad players James Looney and Deon Simon. Both are receiving looks in practice this week and one of them will probably get the call after practice Saturday.
Asked if he’d have to play the entire game, nose tackle Kenny Clark laughed and said, “Nah. We’ve got guys capable of filling in. I’m sure I won’t have to play every single snap.”
Looney, a seventh-round draft pick, might have the edge on Simon since he plays a little bit more like Daniels than a nose tackle. Looney is 6-3, 287 pounds and Simon is 6-4 and 332 pounds.
Asked about Looney, Clark said: “I think he had a really good preseason. Looney is one of the guys I was just talking to last week about keeping your head up because you never know what could happen. Mike went down and now we’re going to need somebody. This will be a big week for him in practice.”
Wait and see
McCarthy would not commit to having receiver Jake Kumerow active for the Vikings game and it might be another week before he returns from injured reserve.
Kumerow took part in his first practice Wednesday and declared himself ready, but the coaches have to evaluate his practice performance and then determine whether there is a roster move they can make so he can be added to the 53-man roster.
“It was great to have Jake back,” McCarthy said. “Obviously, he’s been working a long time in the weight room and the training room. We’ll just see how the week goes. He looked good yesterday, so very happy with it.”
McCarthy said the team did extra classroom work Wednesday so that it could take the entire afternoon off on Thanksgiving.
Practice began at 8:30 a.m. and players were free to go home afterward.
“I’ll say this, this is always a good practice for us,” McCarthy said. “There will be a lot of energy here today and, frankly, it’s the right way to do it. We want to make sure everybody’s home with their family and friends by noon today. So, thankful for that.”
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