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Wisconsin Sports Briefs: Packers’ quarterback situation has improved…

Matt Flynn says he'll be ready for anything when the Green Bay Packers play the Giants at New York on Sunday.

Flynn was quarterback Aaron Rodgers' understudy for four seasons before leaving as a free agent last year. On Monday, the Packers signed him to be Scott Tolzien's backup this weekend.

Flynn has reportedly been fighting a bad elbow, but he insists he's fine. Coach Mike McCarthy confirmed that Wednesday.

Flynn spent last season as a backup to Seattle rookie and ex-Badger Russell Wilson. He had short stints this year with Oakland and Buffalo.

Flynn said the only time he had elbow trouble was at this summer's training camp with the Raiders. The 28-year-old Flynn insists he has not lost any confidence.

He made a name for himself by throwing six touchdown passes against Detroit while giving Rodgers a breather in the 2011 regular season finale.

Meanwhile, Packers' center Evan Dietrich-Smith returned to practice on a limited basis Wednesday after hurting a knee last Sunday. Defensive end Ryan Pickett was also limited at practice with a bad knee.

Rodgers is mending

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers say he never gives up on the idea of playing the next game, even after he broke his left collarbone nine days ago.

On his ESPN-Milwaukee radio show Tuesday, Nov. 5, Rodgers said he'd love to return for Sunday's Packer game against the Giants at New York, but it remains to be seen if that's realistic.

Coach Mike McCarthy has named Scott Tolzien as his starter against the Giants. The Packers are started to practice for that contest Wednesday.

Rodgers says he's doing all he can to get back on the field, including "not trying to do anything too stupid to aggravate" the collarbone.

He said he takes solace in small victories during his recovery, like sleeping all night, which he just recently did for the first time since his injury.

He also cites putting on his T-shirt and socks by himself. Rodgers said Tuesday was the best he had felt since going down Nov. 4 on a sack in Green Bay's first series of its Monday Night loss to Chicago.

Agent says Finley will play again

Jermichael Finley's agent insists that his client will play football again, even though a former Packer in a similar predicament never returned.

Ex-Green Bay tight end Mark Chmura ended his career after having almost the same type of spinal fusion surgery that Finley's about to undergo.

Chmura said on a Milwaukee radio show Monday that he spoke with Finley last Sunday. He said that after experiencing what he did, he would "bet his bottom dollar" that Finley won't play again.

Chmura said Finley's surgery will fuse the C-3 and C-4 vertebrae to resolve the bruised spinal cord Finley suffered in the Oct. 20 Packer win over Cleveland.

Finley’s agent, Blake Baratz, issued a statement Wednesday to "set the record straight" on Finley's prospects. Baratz said the surgery may not be 100-percent necessary, but it would be a proactive measure to alleviate future risks or re-injury.

Finley's operation will be performed by Pittsburgh Steelers team neurosurgeon Joseph Maroon. Once it's done, Baratz said Finley has every intention of resuming his pro football career. He'll be a free agent after this season.

Matthew will wear smaller brace

Packers All-Pro linebacker Clay Matthews is expected to wear a smaller brace over his right hand during Sunday's game against the Giants at New York.

Matthews wore a club that looked like a boxing glove in last Sunday's home loss to Philadelphia. A smaller device would give Matthews more freedom to move his hand and use it.

Matthews is continuing to recover from the broken thumb he suffered in the Oct. 6 win over Detroit. He sat out four games before returning against the Eagles.

Coach Mike McCarthy said a doctor's report indicated that Matthews would be OK with something smaller to protect the hand.

The Packers remain thin at the outside linebacker spot. Second-year pro Nick Perry is out with a foot-and-ankle injury which occurred last Sunday. It was Perry's first game back after breaking a foot Oct. 13 against Baltimore.

Mike Neal also sat out of Wednesday's practice with an abdominal strain. Rookie linebacker Andy Mulumba returned to practice after being out with a sprained ankle.

The Giants have three straight wins after an 0-6 start. The Packers have dropped their last two, but they're still at 5-4.

Dietrich-Smith practices

Green Bay Packers center Evan Dietrich-Smith took part at least somewhat in Wednesday's practice. He suffered a knee injury last Sunday against Philadelphia, but he was participating in individual drills during the part of the workout that was open to the media.

Other Packers injured last Sunday did not practice, including Casey Hayward, Johnny Jolly, Nick Perry and Don Barclay.

Also, linebacker Clay Matthews took part in his first drills without the protective club he wore last week. That's after Matthews broke a thumb more than a month ago.

Safety Sean Richardson and defensive end Jerel Worthy practiced for the first time since being put on the physically-unable-to-perform list at the end of training camp.

The Packers must decide by the end of next week whether to activate the two, put them on injured reserve, or cut them.

Aaron Rodgers did not work out, but he spent a lot of time with Sunday's starting quarterback, Scott Tolzien. Rodgers was giving Tolzien pointers on his footwork during the open part of the workout.

As expected, Matt Flynn practiced for the first time Tuesday since re-joining the team on Monday. He'll be the backup to Tolzien.

Practice squad vacancy filled

The Packers filled a vacancy on their practice squad by signing rookie running back Orwin Smith. He played for Georgia Tech a year ago, rushing for 682 yards with five touchdowns.

Media reports said Smith had surgery to fix repeated dislocated shoulders. He tried out for Tampa Bay's rookie camp earlier this year, but was not signed.

Badger linebacker semifinalist for Impact Award

Wisconsin linebacker Chris Borland is one of nine semifinalists for the Ronnie Lott Impact Award. It was announced Tuesday that the senior Borland was still in the running for the Lott Award, given to a defensive player for accomplishments both on-and-off the field.

Borland leads Wisconsin with 70 tackles, four sacks and 5.5 tackles for losses. He has volunteered over 100 hours since May, more than twice as long as any other Wisconsin student-athlete.

Five finalists will be named for the Lott Award before the winner is announced on Dec. 8. Meanwhile, Borland's Badgers are getting ready to host Indiana on Saturday.

Badgers, Marquette sign recruits

Wednesday was the early national signing day for college basketball recruits.

The Wisconsin men announced the signing of high school senior Ethan Happ of Taylor Ridge, Ill. He was an all-state selection last year, averaging 23 points and 10 rebounds a game.

Marquette said it signed two of its four recruits Wednesday - guard Ahmed Hill of Augusta, Ga., and guard Sandy Cohen from Seymour near Green Bay.

As a junior, the all-stater Hill led Aquinas High School to the Georgia Class A high school semifinals, averaging 30 points and 12 boards per contest.

Cohen was a coaches all-state selection in his junior year at Seymour, averaging 17 points and seven rebounds.

Also on Wednesday, the UW-Green Bay women's basketball team signed four recruits from the Badger State - guards Laken James of Oconto, Allie LeClaire of Green Bay Notre Dame, Jen Willnitz of Black Hawk High Schoo, and guard-forward Jessica Lindstrom from Superior.