Donald Driver Back in Green Bay
Next game: Monday, November 24 at New Orleans
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Donald Driver has returned to Green Bay to practice for Monday's game against New Orleans, while his father remained in a Houston hospital.
Driver missed his second straight practice Thursday.
A spokeswoman for Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center said 56-year-old Marvin Driver Jr. was upgraded Wednesday night from critical to good condition. Driver's family says he was beaten up by two police officers Monday morning when he was stopped for outstanding traffic warrants.
Houston police issued a statement saying that after the arrest, Driver was placed in the back of a patrol unit, and when he got to jail he was unresponsive and paramedics were called.
Packers players rallied around their veteran teammate.
"I have him and his family in my thoughts and prayers," wide receiver Ruvell Martin said. "I sent him a text message yesterday letting him know that. I hope everything gets worked out for him and everybody's OK."
Fellow wide receiver James Jones said attending to family business was more important than practice.
"He has our support, we're behind him 100 percent," Jones said. "Whatever he needs, we'll help him out with. Right now, all we can do is pray for him."
That was no surprise to Packers wide receivers coach Jimmy Robinson, who said the players he coaches are close off the field.
"They care about each other off the field," Robinson said. "So I think Donald knows those guys are thinking about him and praying for him and his family and will do anything they can to help."
Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Wednesday that he expected Driver to play Monday night's game in New Orleans. If so, Robinson expects Driver to be able to focus.
"He's a 10-year veteran and he's been through a lot over the years," Robinson said. "I don't know if it's been anything like this, but my gut feeling would be Donald is a pretty focused guy and he'll deal with it the best way he can. But not having been through something like this, it's hard to say."
BARNETT'S ROLE?: In the NFL, it's not unusual for a player with a season-ending injury to more or less disappear for the rest of the year. That's partly because the player is busy rehabilitating the injury -- and, perhaps, partly because it's tough being around teammates who still are able to play.
But injured Packers middle linebacker Nick Barnett already has tried to help out his replacement, A.J. Hawk. Will he stay involved the rest of the year? His coach isn't sure.
"It's tough for him to go through this," Packers linebackers coach Winston Moss said. "But he's going to be in rehab, I'm sure he's going to be supported. From what I understand, he still communicates with players, he's still close with them. He's going to be able to stay in touch with them from that standpoint. But otherwise, he's got to get himself ready. So he's got to rehab and get his mind ready to come back next year."
Barnett was scheduled to have season-ending knee surgery Thursday. Moss, who went through knee injuries during his playing days, said he'll try to offer encouragement.
"I know that it's tough," Moss said. "He wants to play, he's been nicked up before ... he's been able to fight through it. This is a situation where I know he wants to play, and he's not able to. So I'm sure that really affects him, and will make him that much more hungry to get himself back in shape, get himself healed up and come back next year even stronger."
NOTES: After Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Wednesday that WR James Jones "has to learn to play with" nagging knee injuries, Jones said he "messed up" a ligament in his knee and is trying hard to get it healthy. "It's been a bumpy road," Jones said. "Sometimes on any given day it can feel good, no pain. On other days, it gives me a little pain. That's just something I've got to work through." ... The Packers added four players to their injury report Thursday. DT Colin Cole (elbow) and C Scott Wells (shoulder) fully participated in Thursday's practice, and DE Aaron Kampman (calf), S Charlie Peprah (calf) were limited. ... LT Chad Clifton (knees) fully participated Thursday after being limited Wednesday. CB Jarrett Bush (ankle) did not participate for the second straight day, DE Jeremy Thompson (groin) fully participated and CB Charles Woodson (toe) was limited.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)