Packers’ Bulaga could play against Lions
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) Bryan Bulaga wasn’t quite ready to say he will be back in uniform and on the field Sunday for the Green Bay Packers.
”I’m not saying I’m definitely playing,” the veteran right tackle said Friday. ”We’ve got to still evaluate things that go into tomorrow.”
Bulaga is listed as questionable for Green Bay’s NFC North road matchup against the Detroit Lions.
Bulaga suffered a significant knee injury in the Packers’ season-opening loss at Seattle and didn’t play in their big comeback win over the New York Jets last Sunday.
As he did last week, Bulaga practiced on a limited basis Wednesday and Thursday this week. He looked to be moving around better with a protective brace on his injured left knee.
”From last week to this week, it feels a lot better,” Bulaga said. ”Mobility wise, strength wise, everything has just progressed really well.”
The Packers didn’t practice Friday, but coach Mike McCarthy seemed to be encouraged about the status of Bulaga, who said the pain in his knee has subsided considerably in the past week.
But McCarthy said Bulaga would have to get through the team’s entire workout Saturday to have a chance to play against the Lions.
”That’s the only hurdle left,” McCarthy said.
Former first-round draft pick Derek Sherrod made his first NFL start as Bulaga’s replacement against the Jets.
”I definitely think he took a huge step from Week 1 to Week 2,” said McCarthy, referring to how Sherrod bounced back from some pass-protection struggles he had in relief of the injured Bulaga against the Seahawks.
”He had a lot work this week, too, because Bryan (had) limited, limited reps,” McCarthy added. ”He’s getting better. I feel good about Derek, the direction he’s going.”
But getting Bulaga back in game action this weekend could be a boost for a Packers offensive line that was hit by injuries in the preseason and has been depending on a rookie center at the start of the season.
The Packers have been pleased with the performance of Corey Linsley in the middle of the line after the first two games. Linsley, a fifth-round draft pick from Ohio State, has stepped in for projected starting center JC Tretter, who is out until at least November with a knee injury.
”He’s a bright kid that’s assignment-sure, a guy that works hard,” offensive line coach James Campen said. ”From Game 1 to Game 2, he improves.”
Green Bay will need a strong push from Linsley and the others on the line Sunday against a formidable defensive front for the Lions.
Led by talented tackles Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley, Detroit held explosive running back Eddie Lacy to 16 rushing yards in its 40-10 rout of the visiting Packers at Ford Field last Thanksgiving. Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers missed the game with a collarbone injury.
So far this season the Packers have struggled to run.
Lacy, the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year last season, rushed for just 34 yards against Seattle before exiting the game in the final quarter with a concussion. He then had 43 rushing yards against the Jets as Green Bay had to rely on the arm of Rodgers to overcome a 21-3 deficit.
”I don’t think we’ve proven anything yet this year in the running game,” right guard T.J. Lang said. ”I think we’re not running the ball nearly as well as we hoped we would.”
NOTES: Green Bay’s Micah Hyde is probable to play Sunday. The starting safety suffered a knee injury as he returned a punt in the last game. … McCarthy said Jamari Lattimore will make a second straight start at inside linebacker with Brad Jones (quad) out again. CB Casey Hayward (glute) is questionable. … Placed linebacker Andy Mulumba on injured reserve. Mulumba played in the first two games this season and registered a tackle on special teams.
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