There’s a chance the team might not have either of them for Sunday’s game against Chicago.
All-Pro left guard Josh Sitton said on Wednesday that he sustained a torn ligament in his left big toe during the second half of the Oct. 26 game against New Orleans. Right guard T.J. Lang injured an ankle blocking on an extra point after Green Bay’s first-drive touchdown against the Saints. Neither player practiced on Wednesday.Putting his pain on a 1-to-10 scale, Sitton said: “Sitting here, it’s a .5, but when you’re trying to move and plant and put all my weight on it, it’s pretty painful.”
If one or both are out, it would disrupt the continuity built alongside rookie center Corey Linsley, who leaned on that veteran duo extensively when he stepped into the starting lineup in Week 1. Those three have started all eight games this season, and Lang and Sitton have started 25 consecutive games at their guard spots.
“The best offensive lines in my opinion are the ones that play week-in and week-out,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “The timing, the communication, particularly the nonverbal communication, happens so fast at the line of scrimmage, so it’s definitely a big part of the flow of your offense.”
Lane Taylor, an undrafted rookie in 2013 who replaced Lang at New Orleans, and J.C. Tretter, a fourth-round pick in 2013 who was activated from the short-term injured-reserve list this week and hasn’t taken a regular-season snap in his brief career, are the next men up.
“It’s a blow,” quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. “Those guys are very talented. They’re having great seasons, Pro Bowl seasons. But it is ‘next man up.’ No one’s going to feel sorry for you or wait around for you. You have to step up and be a professional and be ready to play. That’s what being a backup is all about. It’s about preparing each week as if you’re going to play because, at times, you have to step in and you have to pick up the slack. There’s no excuses in this league. The film doesn’t lie and we’re expecting those guys to be ready to play.”
Rodgers was a full participant at practice after injuring his left hamstring at New Orleans. He said he's feeling much better after a week of rehab and some acupuncture. Plus, defensive starters Morgan Burnett, Datone Jones and Sam Shields were full participation, as well.
Sitton’s availability for Sunday night against Chicago will be determined, in part, by a meeting later this week with the team’s medical staff. If he can fight through the pain without making the injury worse, Sitton intends to play. It’s the potential for re-injury that is the great unknown, he said.
“That’s something that Doc and I are going to talk about more as the week progresses, what risk I have of reinjuring it and whatnot,” Sitton said. “We were going to kind of see how it’s feeling and he’ll look at the foot and see where I’m at and he’ll be able to determine better the risk.”
Sitton, a fourth-round pick in 2008, has missed only two games since moving into the starting lineup in 2009 – a stretch of 95 starts in 97 possible games (postseason included). If not for the bye, Sitton said it would have been “extremely difficult” to play last week.
“I pride myself on always being available,” he said. “I’ve played a lot of games, and I haven’t missed a lot. I haven’t missed a lot of practice. As you get older, you gotta start managing that and start doing things a little differently, missing time here and there and just keeping my body fresh. That’s not a big deal to me. I want to be on the field.”
Lang’s a tough guy, too. A fourth-round pick in 2009, Lang won a starting job in 2011. He’s missed only one game since, even while dealing with a painful elbow injury for much of 2012.
“Josh and I are pretty much on the same schedule,” Lang said. “Just doing the best we can to get healthy, just take it day by day, see how we’re feeling tomorrow, maybe do a few things tomorrow. Just kind of take it from there.”
Sitton might be in pain but it didn’t take away his sense of humor. He matter-of-factly said he was injured on the first play of the game but kept playing because he’s “super tough” before coming clean on the real timeline. And, later, he blamed his buddy Lang “100 percent” for the injury.
“I was telling him not long ago, I feel like we always have sympathy pains for each other,” Sitton said. “His right hip hurts, my right hip starts hurting. He hurts an ankle, I hurt a foot. He needs to stay healthy, dammit.”
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