Bigby ready, but will he be called?

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Gary D’Amato
Friday, January 21, 2011
— Green Bay Packers safety Atari Bigby is healthy and ready to play in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday.

He can’t play, however, if he’s not on the game-day active roster.

Bigby has been active for only four games this season because of injuries. His most recent injury, a groin strain, kept him out of the last three games.

He was inactive for the playoff victory over Atlanta even though he practiced the week before and didn’t experience any setbacks.

Will he play against Chicago?

“I don’t even know yet,” he said Thursday. “I thought I was playing last week, and I didn’t play. So who knows?”

Asked if he was capable of playing 60 snaps, Bigby said, “Of course. I could play 75, 80.”

In the cold

After spending part of Wednesday’s practice outdoors, the Packers did not venture outside the Don Hutson Center on Thursday. Coach Mike McCarthy did open the doors for part of the practice.

“We were able to get the temperature down to 29 degrees, so it was quality work, very crisp practice there,” he said.

The main benefit of opening the doors, McCarthy said, was that the quarterbacks, running backs and receivers got used to handling the football in cold air.

The Sunday forecast for Chicago calls for temperatures in the low 20s but little wind and no precipitation.

“I would think anybody would be happy when you play in Chicago and there is no wind,” McCarthy said. “I think that would be ideal. Wind is to me the biggest factor that changes the way you call a football game.”

Injury update

The only changes in the injury report: left tackle Chad Clifton (knees) went from limited to full participation in practice, cornerback Charles Woodson (toe) went from full to limited and cornerback Pat Lee (shoulder) went from limited to full.

Clifton and Woodson are both on their normal weekly schedules.

The Bears, meanwhile, removed wide receiver Earl Bennett, cornerback Zack Bowman and defensive end Israel Idonije (thumb) from the injury report. Bennett and Bowman were not injury-related absences, which usually means they were just resting sore bodies.

Safety Chris Harris (hip) did not participate for a second consecutive day. Also, linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa (knee) was added. He did not practice.

Neal on the mend

Rookie Mike Neal, who was emerging as a solid player on the defensive line before a right shoulder injury ended his season, said team physician Pat McKenzie repaired a torn rotator cuff and a torn labrum on Oct. 26.

Neal was hurt against Washington on Oct. 10.

“This was almost like a freak accident,” he said. “I had no pain and I got hit the wrong type of way. I tore it up at the end of the third quarter. I played the whole fourth quarter with a torn shoulder.”

He said he would be ready for training camp.

“I actually have had a way faster recovery than we expected,” he said. “I got all my motion back. It’s just getting it strengthened up.”

Also, linebacker Brady Poppinga said he expected a full recovery from a torn ACL he suffered against Miami on Oct. 17. He said he had a very good chance to be ready for the start of training camp.

Williams to Pro Bowl

Cornerback Tramon Williams has been added to the NFC Pro Bowl roster. He replaced Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Asante Samuel, who is injured.

Williams started all 16 games and led the team with career highs in interceptions (six) and passes defended (23). He has added three interceptions in two playoff games.

He joined Clifton, Woodson, Nick Collins, Greg Jennings and Clay Matthews on the Pro Bowl roster.

What might have been

Quarterbacks coach Tom Clements might have been the Bears’ offensive coordinator in 2010, but McCarthy put an end to that scenario before it ever took shape.

The Bears asked for permission to talk to Clements last January. McCarthy denied the request, and the Bears eventually hired Mike Martz as their offensive coordinator.

“I don’t know why I have to answer something like that right now,” McCarthy said when asked about it during his news conference. “We’re preparing to play the NFC Championship Game. I am pro career advancement with my staff.”

Clements has played a role in the development of Aaron Rodgers and backup Matt Flynn. He also helped Brett Favre to a near-MVP season in 2007.

Clements said he understood McCarthy’s position and was all right with it.

“Mike talked to me about it, and I understand his reasons for it and we’ve moved on from that point,” he said. “I certainly understood what his thinking was. We had a good year and I’m happy here.”

New hire

The Packers have hired Vic Ketchman, the senior editor of jaguars.com, to work on “enhanced media projects.”

Ketchman, 60, has a newspaper background and covered the Pittsburgh Steelers for nearly 25 years. He joined the Jaguars in 1995.

Tom Silverstein and Bob McGinn of the Journal Sentinel staff and correspondent Rob Reischel contributed to this report

Last updated: 4:02 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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