Packers LT Clifton still not close to returning to play

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Packers might have injured defensive end Mike Neal back on the practice field next week, but Mike McCarthy said Wednesday that veteran left tackle Chad Clifton remains "multiple" weeks away from a potential return.

Both players have been ruled out of Sunday's game at San Diego.

Neal, a second-round pick in the 2010 draft, has yet to play this season after hurting his left knee during a non-contact drill in training camp. Neal was expected to play a major role in replacing departed free agent Cullen Jenkins this season, but others have had to take his place. He missed most of last season with a shoulder injury.

Clifton, the Packers' starting left tackle for most of his 12-year career, hurt his hamstring in the Packers' Oct. 9 victory at Atlanta. Second-year pro Marshall Newhouse has done well in Clifton's place. McCarthy couldn't say for sure if Clifton will be able to play again this season.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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