By Rob Demovskyrdemovsk@greenbaypressgazette.com
Charles Woodson missed nearly the entire week of practice leading up to the Green Bay Packers' game at Miami two weeks ago and had one of his best performances of the season, but his situation this week might be more problematic.
The cornerback, who has had interceptions in each of the last two games, has a more serious leg injury than the one that kept him out until Friday of the Miami week. Woodson was hurt in the first quarter of Sunday's victory over the Arizona Cardinals and though he didn't miss a play, it was a scary-looking injury that Packers coach Mike McCarthy said could have been much worse.
McCarthy listed Woodson as doubtful on Wednesday's injury report, meaning there's at least a 75 percent chance Woodson won't play Sunday at Buffalo. The Packers are calling it a knee injury, which is what they said was wrong with Woodson leading up to Miami, but the more specific diagnosis at that time was a sore left quadriceps. Woodson was listed was questionable (50-50) leading up to the Dolphins' game and did some work in practice on the Friday before the game.
McCarthy especially has been vague about injuries and would say only that Woodson had "a bruise." Whether it's the same quadriceps injury as last time isn't known but when Woodson hobbled off the field against the Cardinals, he appeared to be holding the same left leg that bothered him two weeks ago when he missed all of the bye-week practices and the first three days of practice leading up to the Dolphins' game.
"We're going to rehab him probably all the way through Friday," McCarthy said after Wednesday's practice. "We're going to see how he feels Friday and make a decision to see if he'll practice on Friday. He's just really sore."
Nickel defensive back Patrick Dendy got most of the practice work in Woodson's place with the No. 1 defense, and rookie Will Blackmon, who played for the first time this season against Miami on Oct. 22, replaced Dendy in the nickel package. That's likely the way defensive coordinator Bob Sanders would go if Woodson doesn't play, but there's always the chance they could work seldom-used cornerback Jarrett Bush into the rotation.
"He's Superman; he'll show up," Blackmon said of Woodson. "That's what he does. He shows up, and he'll do his thing. You know he'll show up."
Woodson's contract calls for him to be paid a bonus of $37,500 for each game he's on the 45-man active game-day roster.
McCarthy all but ruled out Woodson as a punt returner even if he does play this week.
"We'll see how he is," McCarthy said, "but I'll probably caution against it if I had to make a decision today."
Receiver Shaun Bodiford, who was claimed on waivers from Detroit last week, likely would replace Woodson in that capacity. He returned one punt for 16 yards on the play immediately following Woodson's injury against the Cardinals.