Sam Shields was grateful to be back on the field when the Green Bay Packers returned to practice Wednesday afternoon.
When he first jammed his shoulder in Denver two weeks ago, the sixth-year cornerback feared it might be something much more severe. Tests showed only a sprain in his left shoulder, but still missed Sunday’s 37-29 loss in Carolina.
Shields returned to the practice field with a shoulder brace and is hopeful he’ll be cleared in time for Sunday’s matchup with the Detroit Lions.
“I really thought it was something really serious,” Shields said. “It really wasn’t. It’s something I just had to come in, get treatment and just get my motion and my strength back. It’s getting better each day.”
Shields said he’ll likely need to wear a harness for protection like former teammates Charles Woodson, Tramon Williams and Davon House all did in the past. That may have some impact on his range of motion, but he believes it won’t be any more inhibiting as a knee or ankle brace.
The Packers ran low on cornerbacks against the Panthers. Already without Shields and Quinten Rollins (neck), the Packers lost Casey Hayward to a concussion in the second half. He didn’t attend practice, but was seen with his backpack during Wednesday’s locker room.
Defensive coordinator Dom Capers said on Monday that Hayward’s injury forced the defense out of its dime sub-package. Shields admitted it was difficult to watch his younger teammates take on receivers he likely would have been responsible for.
If he’s cleared for Sunday, Shields could be matched up against with Lions all-pro receiver Calvin Johnson, who was limited in Wednesday’s practice with the ankle injury he suffered before the bye.
“It’s hard seeing those guys out there working their tail off,” Shields said. “It wasn’t a lot of mistakes. It was nothing too big. It’s just things we have to correct, the little things. That’s what we’re doing this week. We have a big game this week with the Lions, a conference game and things like that. We have to get that right.”
Shields was one of 14 players on Wednesday’s injury report. Four players — right tackle Bryan Bulaga (knee), cornerback Damarious Randall (illness), Hayward (concussion) and outside linebacker Mike Neal (hip) didn’t practice.
Like Shields, guards T.J. Lang (back) and Josh Sitton (back), running back Eddie Lacy (groin), linebackers Clay Matthews (ankle/knee) and Nick Perry (shoulder/hand), receiver Ty Montgomery (ankle) were all limited.
Rollins was a full participant after sitting out Sunday with a neck injury. Defensive backs Morgan Burnett (calf) and Micah Hyde were also full.