Quarless still not cleared to practice

Weston Hodkiewicz
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Tight end Andrew Quarless (81) grimaces as linebacker Clay Matthews (52) hits him during training camp in September.

The wait continues on Andrew Quarless.

Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy said the sixth-year tight end won’t practice Sunday, but left the door open for a possible return later this week. Quarless has spent the past nine weeks on temporary injured since tearing his MCL in Week 3 against Kansas City.

Quarless was eligible to be activated for Thursday’s Thanksgiving games against Chicago, but still hasn’t been cleared yet to return. Even if he’s allowed to practice this week, Quarless may have to wait until at least another week for the Packers to activate him on game day.

“He will not practice today,” said McCarthy on Sunday morning. “He won’t be activated today, but maybe this week. That’s kind of where we are.”

The Packers have struggled to get much production out of their tight ends this season. Former third-round pick Richard Rodgers is second on the team with 40 receptions and been serviceable in the red zone (five touchdowns), but is averaging a mere 7.3 yard per catch.

Rookie Kennard Backman made the team as the No. 3 tight end, but former undrafted free agent Justin Perillo immediately usurped him for the No. 2 spot on the depth chart after his October promotion from the practice squad. Perillo has nine catches for 94 yards and a touchdown in six games.

Quarless got off to a slow start to the season – his two catches for 14 yards against Kansas City were his only receptions in the first there games – but he’s familiar with quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the offense. Rodgers praised him in spring for the step he’d taken during the offseason.

Quarless, who started 21 of 32 regular-season games the past two seasons, said last week that he hasn’t been alarmed about how long it’s taken to get back on the field.

“No, I think we’ve pretty much been on track with the training staff and everything,” Quarless said. “My biggest thing is just being ready whenever they call my number. Just make sure I’m ready. That’s my main focus.”

Center Corey Linsley (ankle), right tackle Bryan Bullaga (ankle) and cornerback Damarious Randall (knee) may all be able to practice Sunday. Linsley missed Thursday’s 17-13 loss to Chicago after rolling his ankle four days earlier against Minnesota. Bulaga and Randall left in the second half against the Bears and didn’t return. and follow him on Twitter @WesHod.

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