Packers' starting center Wells probable for Thanksgiving game

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Green Bay Packers got some good news on injuries when center Scott Wells was back at practice Wednesday and is listed as probable for the Thanksgiving Day game in Detroit.

Wells' return provided some relief for the Packers, who are reeling from season-ending knee injuries to cornerback Al Harris and outside linebacker Aaron Kampman in Sunday's victory over San Francisco.

Wells also hurt his knee Sunday and had to sit out when the team practiced Tuesday.

"I had a lot of swelling in it Monday and Tuesday, so basically we waited on the swelling to go down so I could bend it again," Wells said. "Nothing's torn. The MRI was clear. It's just a whole bunch of fluid in there."

Wells' return is critical for the Packers, who have allowed a league-worst 43 sacks this season.

The veteran lost his job as the Packers' starting center to Jason Spitz in training camp but returned to the starting lineup after injuries forced the Packers to shuffle their line early in the season.

With Spitz out for the season because of a lower back injury, there isn't much experience behind Wells. His backup is Evan Dietrich-Smith, an undrafted free agent rookie from Idaho State.

Dietrich-Smith played briefly at left guard in the Packers' Nov. 15 victory over Dallas after starter Daryn Colledge tweaked his ankle and has been taking a significant number of snaps in practice.

"The kid's gotten better," Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin said. "He's gotten a lot of work lately, a lot of work, and he's shown improvement. He's shown a pretty good grasp of the system."

Backup running back Ahman Green continued to sit out practice with a groin injury and is doubtful for Thursday's game.

Also, the Packers placed Harris on injured reserve and signed cornerback Trevor Ford from the practice squad Wednesday.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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