The Green Bay Packers' uncertainties at outside linebacker were on display Wednesday when they took the practice field for the first time since arriving in Dallas for Super Bowl XLV.
Frank Zombo, a rookie starter who has missed six games because of a knee injury, was a full participant in the session at Highland Park High School's indoor facility and hopes to play Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Arlington, Texas.
Erik Walden, who replaced Zombo in the starting lineup but sustained an ankle injury in the NFC Championship Game victory over the Chicago Bears, was limited. He primarily worked out with the second-team defense.
"How Erik responds to this practice will be big," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "He practiced and took reps in every team drill. That was the high end of what we were going to try to give him today. It'll be great if he feels good tomorrow.
"Frank looks good. I wanted to get him as much padded work as possible. It seems like Dec. 12 is the last time he's been in pads. We even got him a bunch of reps on special teams, too."
Zombo, an undrafted rookie who broke into Green Bay's lineup in Week 8 after four linebackers went on injured reserve, returned to practice Friday. He suffered a sprained right knee during a Week 14 loss to the Detroit Lions.
Offensive tackle Chad Clifton (knees) and center Jason Spitz (calf) also were limited Wednesday.
Notes: McCarthy focused on the usual in Wednesday's practice: base packages, third-down situations and specific special-teams scenarios. "The guys are fresh, they're ready," McCarthy said. "I want to keep the risk for injury low leading up to the game, which is why we shortened some things today. But it was good to get back in pads. The guys were flying around; they were banging pretty good. I feel very good about the quality of work, particularly up front. I did not put the pads on them last week because we were coming off a situation where we had played five must-win games in a row, and our linemen were beat up. I wanted to make sure I gave them a chance to get back, and it definitely paid off today." ... Kicker Mason Crosby and punter Tim Masthay worked out at Cowboys Stadium before Wednesday's practice and could do so again.