Green Bay Packers right guard T.J. Lang is holding out hope he'll be cleared in time for Sunday night's game against the Chicago Bears.
If that means not practicing this week, then so be it.
Lang (ankle) and starting left guard Josh Sitton (toe) spent the portion of practice open to the media riding bicycles and elliptical machines inside the Don Hutson Center. Afterward, Packers coach Mike McCarthy said he's hopeful both players could take part in some workouts on Friday.
The tricky thing with Lang's injury is it's not as simple as a sprained ankle. There was some ligament and muscle damage involved, but it can heal itself with time.
Now, will that be soon enough to play against the Bears?
"There's still optimism," Lang said. "The good thing is we have all day tomorrow and all day Saturday to continue to judge where it's at. If I have the confidence and the coaches have the confidence in me going out there and getting the job done, then I'd say there there's a pretty good chance."
Sitton and Lang have been the team's most durable offensive linemen for the past three seasons, but the Packers feel comfortable with reserves Lane Taylor and JC Tretter if one or both veterans can't go Sunday.
Like Sitton's situation with torn ligaments in his left big toe, Lang and the medical staff will have to determine if the pain tolerance and risk of further injury makes it realistic for him to play. As Lang admits, sometimes the "positive" thing is let the rehab process take its course to avoid something more significant.
Lang has played without practice reps before. After sustaining a concussion against Chicago last November, he was cleared the following Saturday in time to play against Philadelphia. Even in the one game he missed in 2012 because of an ankle injury, he still dressed as an emergency replacement.
"Walking around feels fine and I feel good jogging," Lang said. "I won't know how it feels until I actually get out there and do some things, and help simulate what I'm going to be doing Sunday whether it's pushing a sled or taking on a bull rush or whatever it is. Hopefully, I can do some of those tests tomorrow and just get a better gauge of where I'm at."
It's been hard to keep either guard out of the lineup. Sitton has missed only two games since he moved into the starting lineup in 2009. That came late in the 2011 season because of a sprained knee.
"History tells you we're guys that tend to play through some things, if we can," Lang said. "I wouldn't bet against us playing this week. But like I said, it's just a day-to-day process and we're both in the same boat. We've been doing the same things. See how we feel tomorrow."