During his Monday news conference, coach Mike McCarthy said Clifton will miss a "number" of weeks, and Clifton's availability for the rest of the season won't even be known for a couple of weeks.
"You know how hamstrings are," McCarthy said the day after a 25-14 at Atlanta. "You can do scans (but) they're not 100 percent. Hamstring injuries aren't something that you go have a scan and, ‘OK, you're out a week.' That's not realistic. There's a lot more than goes into that. I told you exactly what the medical staff just told me. It's going to take a couple weeks before we can get our hands around it. It's a significant hamstring injury. It's going to take a couple weeks to get our hands around it but it's a significant hamstring injury. A lot of swelling, bleeding."
Without Clifton, McCarthy wasn't sure who would play up front against the Rams on Sunday. In Clifton's place, fill-in right tackle Marshall Newhouse replaced Clifton with first-round pick Derek Sherrod taking the right tackle spot. Newhouse, making his second career start, and Sherrod, getting his first significant playing time, did surprisingly well, with no changes made to the game plan, according to offensive coordinator Joe Philbin.
"Once they settled in, I thought Derek played well in the second half," McCarthy said. "Had the one run where we went the wrong way on the four-minute drive. I thought Marshall played well at right tackle and went over and didn't miss a beat at left tackle. I was pleased with the tackles' performances."
At least the Packers have some options, with first-round picks used on Sherrod in April and Bryan Bulaga in 2010. Newhouse was a fifth-round pick in 2010 and started three seasons at left tackle for TCU.
Bulaga, who missed the last two games with a knee sprain, could be available. McCarthy will have an idea on Bulaga's availability after a workout on Tuesday, he said. A left tackle at Iowa, Bulaga could be an option to replace, but after settling in at right tackle over the last year, the early guess is Newhouse starts at left tackle and a healthy Bulaga regains his spot on the right side.
"That's obviously an option," Philbin said. "Again we havent discussed the variables at all up to this point because we're not really sure, I'm certainly not certain of individual people's availability. So, once we get a clear picture of who might be up and who can practice and who can get the reps, then we'll have to make decisions as to how we're going to divvy up those reps and what sides, etc. But right now to project who's going to be where, I wouldn't have a good feel for that."
McCarthy said it's too early to know if Clifton will be able to return this season. Injured reserve wasn't discussed, McCarthy indicated.
There will be a roster spot available once safety Nick Collins is put on injured reserve. McCarthy said he's not ready to decide on how to use that spot.
"Ted and I sat down and talked about the board," McCarthy said of general manager Ted Thompson. "There's a couple different ways we can go with that spot. Personally, I'm not ready to make that decision on how I feel which way we should go. Ted has his opinions and we'll continue to talk about it. We have some time. We're not quite sure which way we're going to go."
— The blocking on the returns was more the issue than Randall Cobb returning kicks from 6 and 7 yards deep in the end zone.
— The sideline penalty: McCarthy took the blame. "I was disappointed to say the least," he said, noting the team had been warned twice. "It was an emotional, energetic game but we were sloppy on the boundary."
— Hawk's penalty: "You saw it. I don't have a comment on it."
— Rams are coming off their bye week, which will add to the challenge of Sunday's home game. "This Ram team is going to be more prepared than the normal team that has seven days. We have a lot of work to do tonight and tomorrow."
— Wasn't aware of any other injuries but has not been given a full update.
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.