Packers hit hard by injuries in loss to Falcons
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) A slew of injuries to key players could leave the Green Bay Packers scrambling this week. And perhaps the week after that, too.
Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Monday the team’s medical staff was still ”trying to get their hands around” the avalanche of injuries that occurred during the team’s 34-23 loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday night, although none of the injuries appear to be season-ending.
Already forced to play without starting offensive tackles David Bakhtiari (hamstring) and Bryan Bulaga (ankle), the Packers lost standout defensive tackle Mike Daniels to a hamstring injury on the Falcons’ first offensive possession. Then wide receiver Jordy Nelson, Aaron Rodgers’ top offensive weapon, sustained a quadriceps injury on the Packers’ first possession. Neither player returned to the game.
After that, the Packers lost wide receiver Randall Cobb (shoulder), safety Kentrell Brice (groin) and cornerback Davon House (quadriceps). Veteran right guard Jahri Evans suffered a groin injury but finished the game without missing a snap.
Asked whether any of the injuries were season-ending, McCarthy replied, ”I don’t think I’ll be reporting any season-ending injuries, no.”
That’s the good news. The bad news is that the Packers have to play two games in a 12-day span, facing the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday and then hosting the Chicago Bears in a Thursday night game on Sept. 28.
That could make it difficult for any of the injured players to get back and be able to play in both games.
”There was a point there when I looked at the bench and there are 10 guys on the bench (with injuries),” McCarthy said in his press briefing Monday night. ”We have a system with the trainers where they have a yellow card and they walk by me and they just write the number, and it seemed like it went on all night with guys going down, going back up.
”Hopefully that’s our one game for this year. It was definitely a challenge, but I thought our guys did a heck of a job fighting through it.”
Presumably, the Packers won’t have most of those players ready for practice on Wednesday.
”It’s going to affect the way we practice Wednesday,” McCarthy said. ”I think that’s loud and clear.”
Without Bulaga and Bakhtiari, the Packers started second-year tackle Kyle Murphy on the left side, one week after he’d made his first career NFL start on the right side. Justin McCray, who had never played a regular-season offensive snap in the NFL, started on the right side.
”Obviously, that was not the type of game I’d prefer to get into as far as the pass-run ratio, but I was proud of both (McCray) and Kyle the way they lined up and competed,” McCarthy said. ”They didn’t blink.”
McCarthy had no update on the severity of Nelson’s quadriceps injury, which was to his right leg. Nelson tore the ACL in his right knee in 2015. Cobb said he injured his shoulder early on and then hurt it later in the game and had to come out. Cobb played through two shoulder injuries in 2015.
Asked if he thought he’d be ready for the next game, Cobb replied, ”I’ll be all right.”
Daniels was a dominant force in the team’s season-opening win over Seattle and would be missed if he can’t go against the Bengals. Daniels was already listed on last week’s injury report with a hip problem.
”He’s a difference-maker. And you want as many difference makers-on the field as you can,” defensive coordinator Dom Capers said. ”All you have to do is go back a week and look at Mike’s performance against Seattle. He was dominant. Hopefully we’ll get Mike healthy and get him back out there.”
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