Safety Morgan Burnett missed practice on Friday after sustaining a broken hand in a blitz drill on Thursday. Head Coach Mike McCarthy made Burnett “probable” on the Packers’ injury report for Sunday’s game against the visiting St. Louis Rams.
“We have some time to test it between now and then. He feels he can play,” McCarthy told reporters on Friday.
“My hand got caught in the mix. It’s one of those things. It’s part of football,” Burnett said following practice.
He said he plans to wear a protective cast on his broken hand. When asked if he expects to play on Sunday, Burnett said: “As of right now, I’m expecting to play, but it’s the trainers’ call.
“Whenever you have something taken away, you appreciate how much you need it,” he added, referring to the use of his broken hand. “You’re going to have to focus more on seeing the threads on the football.”
Should Burnett be unable to play, he would be replaced by undrafted rookie M.D. Jennings.
“M.D. took Morgan’s reps today. You look for him to take advantage of opportunity. He’s getting better,” McCarthy said of Jennings.
Defensive Coordinator Dom Capers referred to Jennings as “the next guy up for us. We were impressed with him in camp. He got a lot of work today. I thought he did a good job,” Capers said.
Capers’ defense will welcome the return of linebacker Frank Zombo on Sunday. Zombo has been out of action since early in the preseason, after he sustained a broken scapula against Arizona in the second preseason game.
“We’ll throw him in there and see how he does. It’ll be nice to have him back. I don’t know how we’ll do it, but you’ll see Zombo play some for us,” Capers said.
“It’s good to be back,” Zombo said. “I feel like I’m part of the team again.”
The Packers will be facing a Rams team that will be bolstered by the return to full strength of star running back Steven Jackson. A Rams offense that is 31st in total yards is looking for a spark, and Jackson’s 5.4 yards-per-carry average is one of the few bright spots on the Rams’ stats sheet.
Second-year quarterback Sam Bradford continues to draw raves from coaches and scouts as one of the league’s top young quarterbacks, but Bradford has competed fewer than 50 percent of his passes, has thrown only three touchdowns in four games and his 70.8 passer rating is one spot above last place among NFL quarterbacks.
“I think he’s going to be a good player in the league for a long time,” McCarthy said of Bradford.
Should the Packers have to play without Burnett, they would have lost their second starter at safety this season. Nick Collins was lost for the season with a neck injury in Week 2. Veteran reserve Charlie Peprah has filled in capably for Collins.
“You always gotta respect your opponent. They still have a great running back, speed at receiver. Not only that, we’re working on ourselves. We want to play our best,” Peprah said.
Peprah played a strong game in Atlanta last Sunday, killing an Atlanta rally with a late-game interception.
“I feel like I have better football ahead of me. We want to live up to expectations. This year, people are expecting us to win,” he said. Additional coverage - Oct. 14