GREEN BAY, Wis. — As the Green Bay Packers walked up the tunnel at Lambeau Field following their preseason win over the Oakland Raiders, one player looked noticeably different than the others: B.J. Raji was out of his uniform and wearing street clothes.
Raji left Friday night’s game early with an arm injury, and at some point in the two hours prior to the clock expiring, the team’s starting nose tackle had exchanged his jersey and helmet for some basic Pro Shop-style Packers apparel.
In the locker room, Raji had a big bag of ice wrapped around his right arm.
Head coach Mike McCarthy seemed optimistic that Raji’s injury wasn’t serious, but the extent of what happened wasn’t yet known.
"You have an initial exam," McCarthy said. "B.J., he’s pretty confident about it. That’s why you do the tests. We’ll see what the tests say."
If Raji misses a few days of practice and even Green Bay’s preseason finale next week, it won’t be a big deal. But as one of the Packers’ key veterans, Raji’s absence would be a significant loss if he’s out for any extended period.
When Raji exited Friday’s matchup, he was replaced at nose tackle by second-year player Josh Boyd. Later in the game, undrafted rookie Mike Pennel worked at that position. Green Bay signed Letroy Guion this offseason to be Raji’s backup, but the former Minnesota Viking has not practiced yet in training camp due to a hamstring injury.
Raji isn’t the only important defensive player with an injury for the Packers to worry about. Cornerback Casey Hayward was not in uniform Friday, three days after leaving practice early. At the time, McCarthy said he was just "being smart" with Hayward because of the third-year pro’s history with hamstring injuries, but Green Bay’s slot cornerback was still not ready for this game.
"I don’t think he’ll be out a while," McCarthy said. "That’s not the indication I was given by the medical staff. Hopefully Casey can work Sunday (in practice)."
The only other injury resulting from Friday’s game was a concussion to rookie cornerback Demetri Goodson.