Hamstring Puts Bishop's Season 'In Jeopardy'

The Packers got the worst possible news on Desmond Bishop. The team's leading tackler last year will need surgery for a hamstring injury sustained early in Thursday's game. He might wind up on season-ending injured reserve, though a possible rules change could save his season.

The fate of Desmond Bishop's season rests on the severity of the hamstring injury sustained on Thursday, the surgical hand of Dr. Pat McKenzie and the NFLPA.

Bishop not only sustained a knee sprain during the preseason opener at San Diego but an injured hamstring. Following Saturday's practice, coach Mike McCarthy said hamstring surgery is "imminent" and Bishop's season is "in jeopardy."

"Personally, I feel just terrible," McCarthy said. "It was a very unusual injury. If you have a chance to see it on film, it's just unfortunate. Everyone knows the type of player Desmond is for us. He's definitely one of the spiritual type of individuals (with) the energy he brings to the workplace and just the way he plays. He puts so much into it. After last year with his calf injuries, I know he was really looking forward to having a big year. It's never a good time when you see one of your players get hurt and have their season in jeopardy."

Linebacker is one of the team's deepest positions, though Bishop is practically irreplaceable. He's one of the team's heavy hitters, blitzers and playmakers. In his 25 games as a starter over the last two seasons, Bishop recorded 263 tackles, eight sacks, one interception and four forced fumbles.

He missed three games last season, with then-rookie sixth-round pick D.J. Smith recording games of nine, 12 and nine tackles.

"Well, I would say D.J.'s ready," McCarthy said. "He was a very good role player for us last year, had an opportunity to start a couple games, was player of the game two weeks in a row with those opportunities. He's ready to go"

During a media availability that started about eight hours before practice, Smith said Bishop was in "good spirits" but he didn't know what his role would be on the defense. Now, his role is clear: He'll be an every-down linebacker. He'll lean on last year's experience.

"I think that's prepared me a little bit," Smith said. "The more reps you get, the more you'll be ready to play. The more and more reps I get, the more I'll be ready to go.

As for the NFLPA's role, the NFL passed a rules change that would allow each team to place one player on a special injury list that would allow the player to return to practice in six weeks and game action in eight weeks. The NFLPA has not signed off on that change. So, as it stands, the Packers' choices for Bishop are to place him on season-ending injured reserve or to keep him on the active roster.

"That's an option," McCarthy said. "We've talked about a number of those options. Frankly, it's the medical operation that will drive that decision. I think it's important for Pat to go in there and see exactly what he's dealing with. "

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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 packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.

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