Black and Blue all over: Free Ryan Grant

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
Is it time for the Green Bay Packers to take the shackles off tailback Ryan Grant?

Grant has been dealing with a sore hamstring for about six weeks and has been limited to 40 carries in the first three games of the season. But the Packers removed him from their injury report this week amid indications he is over the proverbial hump in his recovery.

Offensive coordinator Joe Philbin told Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

"It's a good sign that he's practicing well. We'll see how he responds when the game rolls around. He's had a good week of preparation so far."

According to the Journal Sentinel, the Packers have been not only limiting Grant's playing time -- his 40 carries have come in about 80 snaps from scrimmage -- but also have urged him not to stress the hamstring by running full speed in the open field.

That request has to be awfully difficult for any running back, and it's one Grant is eager to put behind him.

"It is the situation right now. I hope it changes. But I just have to do what I have to do. I'm doing more, feeling good, I made it through practice so far, feeling the best I have. So I'm looking [for them] to move me forward."

Elsewhere in the NFC North:

  • Packers rookie Jordy Nelson is in effect the team's third receiver because of injuries to James Jones (knee) and Ruvell Martin (hand), Tom Pelissero of the Green Bay Press-Gazette reports.

  • We appreciate the loyalty and honesty of new Detroit general manager Martin Mayhew. This was probably the best answer he could give when asked if he is a "Matt Millen guy": "I'm 100 percent a Millen guy. But that doesn't mean that Matt and I think the same way about everything."

  • The Lions' new management team made clear Thursday it has not given up on the season. Chief operating officer Tom Lewand: "[W]e're two games out of first place, three games into the season, with 13 games to play. That's an awful lot of football."

  • Chicago receiver/kick returner Devin Hester acknowledged his rib area is "still sore" but was able to participate in a portion of practice, according to Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune. Hester said it sometimes takes "weeks" to recover from his injury and other times "two months." That doesn't sound like someone who is playing Sunday against Philadelphia.

  • Chicago receiver Brandon Lloyd on his checkered NFL past, according to the Chicago Sun-Times: "I don't regret anything because there wasn't anything bad. There's a lot of bad stuff going around the NFL, a lot of bad stuff individuals are doing in getting suspended for different things. I was never that."

  • Minnesota safety Madieu Williams, who returned to practice Thursday after sitting out most of two months with a neck injury, said he never lost faith that he would play at some point this season. "I wasn't worried at all because I knew what had happened. The trainers and coaches knew what happened. I knew exactly what needed to be done. I had to shut it down for a little bit. I knew that I was going to be back at some point during the season."