Packers doc keeps tabs on players' injuries despite lockout

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Although the NFL lockout has cut off most contact between teams and players, Packers general manager Ted Thompson said his team is able to track the progress of injured players during the offseason.

Speaking to reporters in his annual pre-draft news conference Thursday, Thompson said team physician Pat McKenzie is staying in touch with Packers players who are rehabilitating their injuries. And Thompson didn't express any concerns about players falling behind as they get ready for a return to the field.

A league spokesman says team doctors can check on the progress of injured players' rehabilitation as long as such contact happens away from team facilities. Green Bay shook off a rash of injuries during its Super Bowl run, ending the season with 16 players, including six starters, on injured reserve.

And while teams generally can't talk to players during the ongoing work stoppage, a handful of Packers players also are scheduled to participate in the team's "tailgate tour" next month, which is allowed because the events will benefit local charities.

Thompson acknowledged that the team is making contingency plans just in case the labor situation affects the timing of training camp or the regular season.

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"For the fans, they should know, we're planning for several different contingencies," Thompson said. "What we do know is, there's a draft coming up next week, and that's been my focus and the focus of our personnel department."

Despite the uncertainty of the labor situation, Thompson said, team officials are preparing for the season as usual.

"What's important to know is, the Packers are getting ready for football," Thompson said. "We've got a season schedule sent out. Mike (McCarthy) has training-camp schedules all done. There is no contact with players, but our players are very professional and I'm sure they're getting ready. We're hopeful that a deal gets done, just like everybody else."

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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