Packers may lose TE Finley, LB Barnett for season

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GREEN BAY, WIS. (AP) - Already hammered by injuries, the Green Bay Packers now may be without tight end Jermichael Finley and linebacker Nick Barnett for the rest 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 them on season-ending injured reserve is “definitely” an option, although the team may wait until next week to make a final decision.

“Getting the current players that we have on our roster healthy to win this football game is our focus,” McCarthy said. “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 in Sunday’s overtime loss at Washington, and Barnett hurt his left wrist in a victory over Detroit a week earlier.

It’s the latest in a staggering series of losses for the Packers, who are preparing for Sunday’s game against Miami without several of their top players. There were 14 players listed on the Packers‘ injury report Wednesday _ including quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who is recovering from a concussion and did not 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.

“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 player out of LSU who has thrown only 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 he 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 did not 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 the Packers‘ 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.”

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