Injuries an issue for Chicago-Green Bay

September, 7, 2009
9/07/09
4:54
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert


It’s unusual to be discussing multiple injury situations as we approach Week 1 of the NFL season. But I can count at least four key Green Bay or Chicago players whose health and availability are significant questions heading into Sunday night’s matchup at Lambeau Field.

Bears cornerback Charles Tillman practiced Monday for the first time since undergoing back surgery earlier this summer. Fellow cornerback Zack Bowman (hamstring) and safety Danieal Manning (hamstring) are also trying to work their way back.

We’ll have more on their progress as the week continues, but for now I ask: Can those players possibly be ready to match up against a Packers passing offense that proved laser-sharp at every turn this preseason? (One statistic to chew on: Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers averaged 11.3 yards per attempt this preseason, more than any NFL passer with more than 17 attempts.)

Meanwhile, in Green Bay it sure doesn’t sound like linebacker Nick Barnett (knee) will jump immediately into the starting lineup after making his preseason debut Thursday. I don’t know how else you could read a series of answers Monday from Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy, who said Barnett will “definitely play” Sunday night but cautioned against pushing him too hard.
McCarthy: “Nick Barnett is coming off a major injury. He just played 25 snaps last week, and you have to be smart on how you progress forward with any player coming back.”
One guess: Brandon Chillar and A.J. Hawk will start at inside linebacker against the Bears, with Barnett working in the nickel and other sub packages.

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