Originally posted on Fox Sports Wisconsin  |  Last updated 11/15/11
GREEN BAY, Wis. Packers coach Mike McCarthy believes that veteran left tackle Chad Clifton could be back on the field in three weeks. McCarthy ruled Clifton out for Sunday's game at home against Tampa Bay, adding that it was unlikely he would be back for the Thanksgiving game in Detroit, as well. However, the Giants (game) would probably be realistic if (Clifton) stays on schedule," the coach noted. That game against the Giants is on Dec. 4, in New York. Clifton left the game in Atlanta in Week 5 on Oct. 9 with what McCarthy described as a significant hamstring injury." Since then, second-year lineman Marshall Newhouse has stepped in to Clifton's spot at left tackle and played well at times.The Packers decided not to put Clifton on injured reserve with the hope that he would be able to return before end of the season.Clifton is in his 12th season in the NFL, all with the Packers since being selected in the second round by Green Bay in the 2000 draft. Raji was on the sideline more than usual in Monday's game:Packers nose tackle B.J. Raji has been on the field a lot this season, playing 523 total snaps (58 per-game average), according to stats from Pro Football Focus.In comparison to the other starting defensive linemen on Green Bay's front line, Ryan Pickett has been in for 293 snaps and Jarius Wynn for 309 plays.In the Packers' Monday night win over the Vikings, Raji was only in for 42 plays, 16 below his season average.That's a positive," McCarthy said. B.J.'s played a lot of football this year. So it's good to get a little more rotation, get the reps and snaps down. We are conscientious of how much he's played this year. I think he's playing good. His conditioning is better this year than prior years. B.J. has earned the opportunity to play as much as he has. He's definitely in shape."Follow Paul Imig on Twitter
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