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Receiver could play after vicious clothesline

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- There's a slight chance that Packers wide
receiver Robert Ferguson could play Sunday, just three weeks after
a clothesline hit by Jacksonville's Donovin Darius left him
temporarily paralyzed.

Green Bay coach Mike Sherman upgraded Ferguson from doubtful to
questionable for the playoff game against Minnesota after Ferguson
performed well at Friday's practice, his first full workout since
the injury.

Ferguson, however, hasn't had any contact yet, and that will
probably prevent him from suiting up Sunday. The more likely
scenario is for him to play next week at Atlanta should the Packers
beat the Vikings.

Even if he were to play against the Vikings, Sherman said
there's no way Ferguson would return kicks.

Ferguson is still experiencing headaches but has regained
sensation and strength in his extremities, and team doctors cleared
him this week to return to the field.

His new helmet was equipped with a visor to cut down on the
glare that continues to bother him. His chin snap and face mask
was broken on the old helmet, which was stripped from his head when
he was hit Dec. 19 by Darius, drawing a 15-yard penalty, an
ejection and a $75,000 fine from the NFL.

Ferguson said he appreciated a phone call from Darius in the
hospital, but he didn't like Jacksonville coach Jack Del Rio
referring to him as "that guy" instead of by name while defending
his safety over the vicious hit.

As late as Monday, the Packers were doubtful Ferguson would play
again until next summer.

"When he's laying there on the field, and you see him in the
MRI machine, you're just hoping he's going to be OK as a person,
not as a football player," Sherman said. "And you know, with
Fergie, he just is a fast healer and a tough, tough kid. So, you
just expect once he's back on his feet he's going to get out there
somehow some way."

Ferguson said he can't wait to get hit again and that this whole
experience will make him a better player.

After catching 43 passes for 593 yards and six touchdowns a year
ago, Ferguson had 24 receptions for 367 yards and one score this
season while playing in the shadows of 1,200-yard receivers Javon
Walker and Donald Driver.

"When you're down and you're thinking this is it, I might not
walk again or whatever, you want to leave your mark on the game,"
Ferguson said. "You don't want to be one of those guys who just
came in and played and never tapped into their talent. And I feel I
haven't tapped into my talent at all right now."

So, he said he'll be more assertive about a bigger role in the
offense.

"Since I was young, I've always been the ultimate team player,
but I feel like now I've learned you have to be selfish in some
ways," he said. "I think every great player is selfish in a
way."