Levens returns to practice

Thursday, September 14th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) _ The Green Bay Packers are eager to see how running back Dorsey Levens' surgically-repaired right knee held up.

Levens practiced Wednesday for the first time since Aug. 13, when tendinitis in his left knee became so painful he underwent an arthroscopic operation two days later.

The Packers are hoping Levens can return to the lineup Sunday against Philadelphia and share snaps with Ahman Green, who's also0 recovering from a knee injury.

``It all depends on how it responds after this practice,'' running backs coach Kippy Brown said. ``Does it swell? Does it feel fine? I've got my fingers crossed.''

Levens was listed Wednesday on the injury reports as 50-50 to play.

``I'm optimistic that if he feels fine and can practice again Thursday like he did today, that he could help us in the game,'' Brown said.

Green said he should be able to ditch his knee brace in about a week.

Brett Favre was heartened to see Levens return to action in full pads.

``It was good. It was good,'' Favre said. ``I wasn't sure if he was going to practice. I asked him how he felt. He said he felt good. He looked good. How much we can expect out of him, who knows? But it was nice to see him back.''

Injuries have decimated the Packers, who are trying to avoid their first 0-3 start in 12 seasons.

Right tackle Earl Dotson was urged by team doctors to undergo an operation to repair a disc in his back. His agent said a decision is expected this week. He'll be replaced in the starting lineup by rookie Mark Tauscher.

Players with knee injuries include cornerbacks Mike McKenzie and Antuan Edwards, linebacker Brian Williams, defensive tackle Santana Dotson and defensive end John Thierry.

And, of course, Favre is still fighting elbow tendinitis in his throwing arm and a swollen right thumb.

So, a healthy Levens would be a big boost, Favre said.

``Dorsey means a lot to this offense for a lot of reasons,'' Favre said. ``And I've said this before, that Dorsey may not be the best runner, may not be the best blocker, may not be the best receiver out of the backfield. But he does every one very well.

``He can do a little bit of everything. There's some backs who are one-dimensional, can only run, are not able to fit into the passing game. Dorsey's one of those guys who, whatever we ask him to do, he can do.''