Injuries cloud Packers LBs Barnett, Chillar's status, coach says

Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy indicated Thursday that linebackers Nick Barnett and Brandon Chillar, both of whom are coming off injuries, might not be in the team's 2011 plans, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

"We have to see how he (Barnett) comes off the wrist," McCarthy said. "Same thing with Chillar. That's his third shoulder surgery. You know how these things go. I'm glad we aren't playing this week. The season we had, I spent too much time with the doctors."

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Barnett, a former starter, also has a steep price tag -- $6.9 million -- for next season.

A source with knowledge of the situation told NFL.com's Steve Wyche last week that the Packers would explore trading Barnett, who broke his wrist during a Week 4 game, opening the door for Desmond Bishop to line up next to A.J. Hawk and emerge as a core player.

"If he plays the way he did this year, there's no reason he shouldn't be (a three-down player)," McCarthy said of Hawk. "(Desmond) Bishop played very well, too. We line up tomorrow, it's A.J. and Bishop, and that's the way we finished."

Trading Barnett won't happen until a collective bargaining agreement is reached between the NFL and the NFL Players Association, Wyche reported, but the eight-year veteran could have value because there aren't that many quality inside or middle linebackers available in free agency.

If Barnett can't be traded, the Packers would explore releasing him, Wyche's source said.

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