Packers' Levens Nicknamed Doctor
Packers' Levens Nicknamed Doctor
Dec. 19, 1998
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) _ Dorsey Levens' new nickname is ``Doctor,'' and not because he could be the tonic for what ails the Green Bay Packers.
Coach Mike Holmgren chided his star halfback this week, calling him ``Dr. Levens'' for his public comments that fellow halfback Darick Holmes' collarbone injury would keep him out until the playoffs.
``Well, according to Dr. Levens, he said Darick Holmes would be out 2-3 weeks,'' Holmgren said Wednesday. ``I know Dorsey's a smart guy, but he also plays that position and he wants to play.
``That is not the case. I will go on record, Darick Holmes is not out for 2 or 3 weeks. How much he will miss, I don't know. ... I did talk to Dr. Levens, though, to make sure he confirms what I'm telling you right now.''
Later, when Holmgren was talking about Dan Reeves' heart surgery and the preventative measures he himself takes to deal with the stress of being an NFL head coach, he threw another barb: ``I talked to Dr. Levens about this.''
Levens will start Sunday against the Tennessee Oilers, but is he ready to play a whole game just over three weeks after returning from a broken leg?
``Quite honestly, I don't know,'' Levens said Friday. ``But I'm going to find out pretty quick.''
So will the Packers.
Offensive coordinator Sherm Lewis will keep a close eye on him. The last thing the Packers need is for Levens to get hurt again like he did in Week 2 after missing all of training camp in a contract dispute.
``We can use William Henderson on one-back sets if we have to, if he gets tired,'' Lewis said. ``We might be able to use Michael Blair a little bit. So, if there's too much of a load on him right now, we're going to make some adjustments.''
Holmes said he could play in an emergency, but he still doesn't have full range of motion in his left shoulder and took only a few snaps Friday in his first practice all week.
Holmes said his shoulder had improved to the point where ``I think I can fight off a defender with it. I'm still limited a little bit, but Monday I couldn't even move it.''
Holmgren said Holmes would suit up, but it's doubtful he'll play much, if at all, especially if Tampa Bay loses to Washington on Saturday night, thereby putting the Packers into the playoffs.
Holmgren was eventually going to reinsert Levens into the starting lineup sometime soon, and Holmes' injury forced his hand this week.
Levens, who made the Pro Bowl last year, said he didn't know if he'd be 100 percent until next season after missing all of training camp and then 10 weeks with leg injuries. But he did show flashes of his old dazzling self when he ran 15 times for 105 yards against Chicago last week, reeling off back-to-back runs of 12 and 13 yards in the second quarter and a 50-yarder in the fourth.
Before that, the Packers' longest run of the season was an 18-yard scramble by quarterback Brett Favre.
Levens, who still has a screw in his damaged right ankle, said he can't run as fast as he used to, ``but I'm trying to be a little more patient and see the field better.''
Levens has rushed 72 times for 256 yards, a 3.6-yard average. Holmes has carried 90 times for 377 yards, a 4.2-yard average.
``I like having them both,'' Holmgren said.
So does Levens, who's not too thrilled with having to go it alone.
``I'd still be happy with that right now, but Darick's not in a position to do that,'' Levens said, catching himself just in time.
``Maybe he will be. I'm not sure,'' Levens said with a smile. ``I was told that I was not a doctor and I'm not allowed to comment on Darick's injury.''