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Green Bay Packers hopeful wounded stars near return

At a time in the NFL season when teams are shutting players down, a handful of wounded Green Bay Packers are close to playing again.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported this week that wide receiver Jordy Nelson (hamstring), safety Charles Woodson (collarbone), running back Alex Green (concussion) and defensive end Jerel Worthy (hamstring) all could be back on the field for Sunday's regular-season finale against the Minnesota Vikings.

"I'm hopeful a lot of those guys can get back. But we'll see," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Monday. "I know Jordy, talking with him, he feels like he's very close. Charles, he's waiting on information from the medical staff. He's very close. Alex Green, I was surprised that he wasn't available for (last week's game against the Tennessee Titans) just based on the way that process, the result of the process, so he'll definitely be available."

The rash of injuries haven't slowed the Packers (11-4) down the stretch. Green Bay has won nine of its last 10 and would secure a first-round playoff bye with a win over Minnesota.

Something here recalls McCarthy's team from two seasons ago, a banged-up squad that ventured into the playoffs with a string of players stashed away on injured reserve, only to win the Super Bowl. Those Packers seemed to get stronger as the season progressed, and this Green Bay team -- a little bit off the radar in 2012 -- is about as dangerous as any in the NFC.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

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