If Packers fans learn nothing else this year, it'll be to take the good with the bad when it comes to injuries.
Let's start with the good: Aaron Rodgers practiced in pads for the first time since he fractured his collarbone on November 4. This represents another significant hurdle that the Packers' starting quarterback has cleared on his way back to the field. However, before anyone assumes Rodgers is ready to play, Matt Flynn continues to take most of the reps with the first time. At this point, it's fair to assume Rodgers will miss at least one more game.
Speaking of missing games, the availability for starting offensive linemen David Bakhtiari and Evan Dietrich-Smith is suddenly in question as both missed Thursday's practice. Bakhtiari was a surprise scratch as he had been practicing as recently as the day before. Evan Dietrich-Smith has been hobbled the past few weeks, so his absence is of greater concern. If both can't go, the Packers' offensive line will likely be (left to right) Marshall Newhouse, Josh Sitton, T.J. Lang, and some mixture of Lane Taylor, Don Barclay, and Derek Sherrod on the right side, if the results of today's practice are any indication.
Just as concerning, the defensive line was without Ryan Pickett and Mike Neal today. Neal has recorded two sacks and 12 tackles over the past three games while Pickett remains an anchor of the run defense. If either can't suit up against the Falcons this weekend, it could spell significant trouble for the Packers.
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