Published October 13, 2012
GREEN BAY, Wis. – Jermichael Finley has little doubt about his playing status this weekend.
"I'm feeling good about Sunday," the Green Bay Packers tight end said Friday.
The outlook for some of Finley's teammates is not so rosy.
Green Bay (2-3), which has been rocked by injuries early in the season, will be missing another starter when it faces the unbeaten Texans (5-0) on Sunday night in Houston. The Packers ruled out receiver Greg Jennings on their injury report Friday.
Jennings, a two-time Pro Bowl selection, has been sidelined since aggravating a groin injury in Green Bay's win over New Orleans on Sept. 30.
"We feel that he's probably at the spot where he was before he played against the Saints," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "So we're going to go probably another six days before we even attempt to test him, is our plan."
Running back Cedric Benson also won't play against the Texans. The Packers placed him on the new injured reserve/designated to return list this week after he injured his left foot in a loss at Indianapolis last Sunday.
Two other key players for Green Bay left that game with injuries: Finley (shoulder) and nose tackle B.J. Raji (ankle). Finley and Raji are questionable for the upcoming game.
Raji didn't practice this week. McCarthy said Finley and tight end D.J. Williams, who injured a hamstring in practice Wednesday and was out Thursday, jumped in for the last half of practice Friday.
"We got 'em as many reps as we possibly could, and we'll see how both of those guys are in the morning," McCarthy said.
Williams also is questionable for the matchup with the Texans.
The Packers weren't in pads for practice Friday. But McCarthy indicated the training staff tested Finley's injured right shoulder with contact in rehab work using a blocking sled before Finley rejoined the team for practice.
Finley said this week he had a partially dislocated AC joint in the shoulder.
With regard to getting Finley and also Williams possibly ready to play Sunday, McCarthy said: "We've done the best we can as far as the physical part."
"Now it's just about seeing how they are in the morning treatment and possibly maybe work both of those guys out before the game," McCarthy added.
Finley insisted earlier in the week he would play on Sunday, and remained positive following practice Friday.
"I'm glad I'm going to go, hopefully," Finley said. "Coach has got me as questionable. I went from doubtful to questionable. So it's looking good."
Finley doesn't foresee having any limitations with the bum shoulder, though he acknowledged his tolerance for contact in a game situation is an unknown variable.
"Catching the ball is the easy part with the shoulder," Finley said. "Now it's just dipping (the shoulder) and taking that hit and landing right. It's going to be a big challenge come Sunday, but I'm up for it and ready to go."
Playing with a little extra adrenaline also could help Finley, who is returning to his native Texas.
Finley grew up in a small town about 100 miles from Houston. He said he bought tickets for more than 30 family members and friends to attend the game.
"It's going to be humid and hot, so I'll be revved up and ready to go," Finley said. "I won't even think about the shoulder unless it gets pounded pretty hard."
Green Bay could be without one of its top run stoppers in the matchup with Arian Foster. The Texans' star running back leads the league with five rushing touchdowns and ranks second with 532 yards rushing.
McCarthy said Raji was further behind Finley and Williams in his recovery from an ankle sprain, but the Packers aren't ruling out the Pro Bowl lineman.
"We've had to prepare all week to go without B.J.," McCarthy said. "That's the way you have to approach it from a coach's perspective. (But) B.J. is definitely at the point in his career if he's ready to go then we'll give him the opportunity to do that."
NOTES: Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers said Friday CB Davon House is "getting closer" to playing for the first time this season. House, a starting candidate early in training camp, dislocated a shoulder in the first preseason game. House has practiced on a full-time basis the last two weeks but is questionable to play Sunday. "Obviously, when he went down with his injury, we thought a lot of him," Capers said. "But like any young guy, when you miss time, it takes you time to get back in that groove." . The Packers will play their first game at Houston since they beat the Texans 16-13 on a last-second field goal by Ryan Longwell in 2004. Capers was in his third season as the first head coach for the expansion Texans that year. He isn't getting sentimental about returning to Reliant Stadium on Sunday. "I spent five years there, so obviously I spent a lot of time in that stadium getting things started," Capers said. "But once things are over, you kind of close the book on that chapter and you move on. It means a lot more to me going down (there) trying to get a win for the Green Bay Packers."