GREEN BAY, Wis. — Bryan Bulaga’s season is over. The Packers’ starting right tackle, who left the game against the Arizona Cardinals on Nov. 4 with a hip injury, was placed on injured reserve.
Green Bay had a bye this past weekend, but as players reported back for Monday morning’s practice, general manager Ted Thompson announced the roster move.
“Bryan Bulaga has a significant hip injury,” coach Mike McCarthy said at his afternoon news conference. “It’s something that there’s a lot of conversation about the timeline of a possible return. The more people we talked to, we felt it was best, obviously, to put him on IR.
“His long-term health is always at the forefront of these decisions.”
McCarthy added that the early diagnosis is that Bulaga’s injury will not require surgery, but that a final decision won’t be made until a checkup in four weeks.
“If you ask Bryan — you walk in there Monday morning, he’s out there working out, no crutches, not saying nice things about the doctors, which is nice to hear,” McCarthy said. “(He’s saying) he wants to play and he’s going to be fine.
“But you can’t deny what’s on the scan. This is in his best interest to go this path. We feel confident about his future.”
When Bulaga was injured in the first half of the Packers’ 31-17 victory over the Cardinals in Week 9, left guard T.J. Lang slid over to right tackle and Evan Dietrich-Smith came off the bench into Lang’s spot at left guard.
“With Bryan, we know each other,” starting right guard Josh Sitton said. “We know how we stepped, we know how we fit on certain blocks. You kind of come up with your own sort of code. That’s the stuff that will take a little time.
“You just kind of roll with it. You can’t do anything else about it. Little certain things will come with time.”
If Green Bay suffers any further injuries along its offensive line, the team then would be relying on two undrafted rookies: tackle Don Barclay and guard Greg Van Roten.
“You’re always kind of on call and ready to go,” Van Roten said. “So when Bryan went down, it’s like, the good life is over. You’re going to get ready to play.”
It’s also possible that Derek Sherrod, the Packers’ first-round pick in 2011, could return this season. Sherrod broke his right leg on Dec. 18 — nearly 11 months ago — and has been on the Physically Unable to Perform list all year. Sherrod was added to the practice roster last week, however, and the team has two more weeks to evaluate him before deciding whether to activate him or place him on injured reserve.
The open roster spot created by Bulaga was filled immediately, with Thompson announcing the signing of outside linebacker Vic So’oto. This is a return to Green Bay for So’oto, who played seven games for the Packers last season. He appeared in four games for the Oakland Raiders this season.