GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -- Mike McCarthy didn't want to be a Grinch. But the Green Bay Packers coach said he didn't have much choice but to hold practice on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in preparation for Sunday's season finale against the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field.
McCarthy structured Wednesday's schedule to have the players out of the building by 4 p.m., then pushed back Thursday's Christmas Day schedule. He held a team meeting at noon, followed by offense-defense meetings until practice at 1:30.
He then pushed the usual post-practice film session to Friday morning.
"I never worked on a schedule in all my years in the NFL where you had Thanksgiving and Christmas off," McCarthy said. "And this year has been a challenge."
That challenge is the result of the Packers playing Monday night games on the road the Monday before both Thanksgiving and Christmas.
While Lions coach Rod Marinelli altered his team's schedule this week so the players could have Christmas Day off -- he held practice on Tuesday, the traditional NFL off day -- McCarthy couldn't do that because of the short work week.
In an effort to work ahead, offensive coordinator Joe Philbin said, McCarthy held three hours of offensive staff meetings at the team hotel in Chicago on Monday before the loss to the Bears that night.
Harrell's problems continue: Defensive tackle Justin Harrell won't play in Sunday's finale after his back problems flared up again after practice Wednesday. McCarthy ruled the 2007 first-round pick out for the game after he was unable to practice Thursday because of pain in both his hip and back, related to the back injury he suffered during the offseason.
Harrell practiced in full Wednesday but couldn't do anything Thursday, McCarthy said.
"It's just the way it's gone the last few weeks. He goes through the treatment, he's feeling like he's making progress, and then I think once he gets to (practice) it still bothers him," McCarthy said. "I know he's frustrated with it."
Notes: Cornerback Al Harris (illness) returned to full participation in practice after missing Wednesday's workout. Wide receivers Donald Driver (knee) and Greg Jennings (concussion) were both full participants Thursday as well. ... No. 2 halfback Brandon Jackson (wrist) remained limited. ... Starting fullback Korey Hall (knee) practiced in full for the second straight day and should return to action Sunday.