GREEN BAY, Wis. — It didn’t look serious at the time. Green Bay Packers left tackle Bryan Bulaga got off the ground slowly following an opening-drive play during the team’s intrasquad scrimmage on Saturday night. Bulaga stayed in the game and continued to participate throughout portions of the scrimmage.
However, what happened with Bulaga on that play could actually be quite serious. It is likely a season-ending torn ACL.
The initial report came from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the Packers were “fearing the worst” about Bulaga’s knee injury. Bulaga’s father told HubArkush.com that his son was seeing Dr. James Andrews to get a second opinion on the injury.
Bulaga’s meeting with Dr. Andrews is not a good sign for the 24-year-old former first-round pick, with multiple reports confirming that the team’s diagnosis is a torn ACL.
Coach Mike McCarthy did not mention any injury to Bulaga in his post-scrimmage press conference.
Green Bay reconfigured its entire offensive line this offseason, with the most important move being that Bulaga switched from right tackle to left tackle. Aaron Rodgers was sacked more than any quarterback in the NFL last season, so Bulaga was going to be tasked with blocking for the former league MVP’s blind side.
If Bulaga is out for the season as expected, McCarthy will have to start all over in figuring out how to protect Rodgers.
Marshall Newhouse, who had been the starter at left tackle since Week 4 of the 2011 season, could move back to his old position. But, if the Packers had felt comfortable with Newhouse at left tackle, McCarthy wouldn’t have moved him out of that spot.
Another option at left tackle is fourth-round pick David Bakhtiari, a rookie out of Colorado who has been very impressive in training camp. Bakhtiari had started to get snaps with the starters at right tackle in recent practices ahead of Newhouse.
Green Bay still isn’t sure whether it can count on Derek Sherrod this season. Sherrod, the team’s first-round pick in 2011, is on Month 20 of his recovery from a broken leg and has not yet been medically cleared.
Entering training camp, Don Barclay seemed like a top contender for the starting right tackle job, but the Packers have instead been training him frequently at center and guard.
This could be the second consecutive season-ending injury for Bulaga, who missed the final nine games last season with a hip injury.
Green Bay cancelled practice and media availability on Monday, so McCarthy won’t be able to comment on Bulaga’s status until Tuesday.