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Three prominent starters were missing when the Green Bay Packers held their first practice of wild-card week Wednesday afternoon.

The Packers were without top cornerback Sam Shields (concussion) as well as left tackle David Bakhtiari (ankle) and left guard Josh Sitton (back). Sitton played left tackle last week against the Minnesota Vikings, while Shields and Bakhtiari were inactive.

Shields has not played since his concussion against the Dallas Cowboys on Dec. 13. He returned to practice in a limited capacity last week. His absence Wednesday could be a sign he’s taken a step back in the protocol.

His presence Sunday in Washington could be a key factor against what coach Mike McCarthy has called a “talented” group of receivers. At four weeks, Shields’ absence is getting on the lengthy side for recovery from a concussion, but McCarthy said the team is staying patient.

"Frankly, that's why the protocol is in place,” McCarthy said Wednesday morning. “Every injury is different. Every concussion is different. We're obviously not going to jeopardize Sam or anybody."

Bakhtiari has missed the past two games with an ankle injury. He was listed as limited on the Packers’ injury report Friday. Bakhtiari also said he participated some in Saturday’s practice one day before the Packers hosted the Vikings.

McCarthy said Wednesday morning he was hopeful Bakhtiari could do some reps in the team drills. Bakhtiari and Sitton went through personal workouts during the early part of practice.

The Packers were also without defensive end Datone Jones, outside linebacker Jayrone Elliott and tight end Justin Perillo.

The team’s first injury report of the week will be released later Wednesday afternoon.

rwood@gannett.com and follow him on Twitter @ByRyanWood

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