Packers likely to place Finley on IR; Rodgers not ruled out

Already hammered by injuries, the Green Bay Packers now might be without tight end Jermichael Finley and linebacker Nick Barnett for the remainder of the season.

Both players had surgery this week and will need more time than originally was expected to recover. Packers coach Mike McCarthy said placing both players on season-ending injured reserve is "definitely" an option, although the team might wait until next week to make a final decision.

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A league source told NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora that Finley likely will be placed on IR.'s Steve Wyche reported via a league source last week that the Packers expected to be without Barnett.

"Getting the current players that we have on our roster healthy to win this football game is our focus," McCarthy said as the Packers (3-2) prepared for Sunday's meeting with the Miami Dolphins (2-2). "Now once we get to next week, I think we'll probably get a little more urgency on what we are going to do."

Finley hurt his right knee during Sunday's overtime loss at Washington, and Barnett hurt his left wrist in a victory over the Detroit Lions one week earlier.

It's the latest in a staggering series of losses for the Packers, who are preparing for Sunday's game without several of their top players. Fourteen were listed on the Packers' injury report Wednesday -- including quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who is recovering from a concussion and didn't practice.

Still, Rodgers has yet to be ruled out for Sunday's game.

McCarthy said Rodgers went through a conditioning test Wednesday. Under NFL guidelines for head injuries adopted late last year, a player must be free from concussion symptoms, both at rest and after exercise, before returning to play.

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"I probably won't know his situation until tomorrow morning, as far as his availability for the game, let alone practice," McCarthy said.

Backup Matt Flynn, a third-year pro out of LSU who has thrown just 17 career passes in the regular season, is preparing as if he's the starter. But Flynn has been talking to Rodgers all week and said the quarterback has been acting normally.

"He's definitely his normal self," Flynn said. "If he wasn't cracking jokes, he wouldn't be his normal self."

Rodgers made a brief appearance in the locker room while it was open to the media and appeared to be in good spirits, but he didn't conduct his usual interview session. He is expected to speak to reporters Thursday.

For now, Rodgers is helping Flynn prepare.

"He's always helping me, and we're always just communicating what we see and what we're thinking about, certain personnel and their defense," Flynn said. "It's really not that different than any other week."

The Packers will have a tough time replacing Finley, who was expected to have a breakout season in 2010. He has 21 catches for a team-leading 301 yards with a touchdown and was in many respects becoming the focal point of Green Bay's passing game.

"We've lost a primary playmaker," McCarthy said. "That's a fact. But we're fortunate where we feel we have other players that we can go play with, and we'll put them in position to be successful."

In addition to Finley, Barnett and Rodgers, the Packers were without outside linebacker Clay Matthews (hamstring), tight end Donald Lee (chest), defensive lineman Ryan Pickett (ankle) and right tackle Mark Tauscher (shoulder) in Wednesday's practice. Also, backup safety Derrick Martin has been placed on injured reserve with a knee injury.

Brandon Chillar (shoulder) was limited in practice, as were left tackle Chad Clifton (knee), safety Nick Collins (knee), and defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins (hamstring/hand).

McCarthy said the availability of most of the injured players for Sunday's game remains unclear. He said he didn't believe Tauscher's injury would end his season.

"He is making progress with his particular injury," McCarthy said. "As long as you are making progress, there is definitely a chance for him to come back."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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