Bryan Bulaga injured his left knee during the Green Bay Packers’ Thursday practice before the Week 2 game against Seattle.
Exactly three weeks later, Bulaga was on the practice field for a second consecutive day and appears to have at least a decent chance of returning to the starting lineup on Sunday against St. Louis.
During the portion of Thursday’s practice open to reporters inside the Don Hutson Center, Bulaga worked extensively next to starting right guard T.J. Lang during a fundamentals period. When the other offensive linemen needed some bodies to serve as defensive linemen, Bulaga jumped into action. That, maybe more than anything, shows just how far Bulaga has come.
Bulaga was listed as limited participation.
"He's a stud," left tackle David Bakhtiari said. "It's good to have him back."
Before practice, coach Mike McCarthy said Bulaga’s return on Wednesday went “smoothly” and that Thursday’s full-pads practice would be “good work” as he tries to knock off three weeks of rust while testing the strength in the knee.
Bulaga reportedly sustained a torn meniscus in his left knee – the same knee in which he suffered a torn ACL that cost him the entire 2013 season. If Bulaga plays on Sunday, he would beat the reported timeline that he would miss between four and six weeks.
“I’ve had injuries on my knee before, so I’m very familiar with the rehab process and I’m very familiar with what I need to do and how I need to feel to get back and play,” Bulaga said on Wednesday. “And it all starts with getting your quad and everything built back up, getting that strong so it can support the knee. That’s really the biggest thing and being able to spend as much time as possible in rehab with the trainers and get it done. I’m very familiar with what I need to feel and what I need to see out of myself to be able to go out and play. It’s a day-by-day deal.”
If Bulaga returns to play on Sunday, it wouldn’t surprise guard Josh Sitton. When Bulaga was injured, Sitton said that Bulaga likely would beat whatever timetable was provided.
“He’s that type of guy that’s going to bug the crap out of the trainers to get him back as quick as they can,” Sitton said on Wednesday. “He’s working his ass off in there rehabbing. It doesn’t surprise me at all.”
As for the rest of the Packers, receiver Davante Adams and safety Morgan Burnett did not practice again. Receivers Randall Cobb and James Jones as well as linebacker Clay Matthews were limited.
"We’re fine. I’ll be all right," Jones said. "I’m a tough dude – sometimes."
Meanwhile, tight end Andrew Quarless talked for the first time since injuring his knee against Kansas City two weeks ago. The Packers placed him on injured reserve-designated for return, meaning he will not be eligible to play until the Thanksgiving game against Chicago.
"Eliot (Wolf) came to me and talked to me," Quarless said about that decision. "It’s very humbling. We had a nice conversation and he said ‘We’re looking forward to you coming back.’ He said, ‘Take care of yourself, it gives you a chance not to rush things.’ Sometimes with injuries, guys tend to rush things and reinjure themselves. One of his main things was, ‘Take your time, get healed and we’ll be ready for you to come back.’"
Packers Injury Report
Player (Injury): Wednesday, Thursday
WR Davante Adams (ankle): DNP, DNP
RT Bryan Bulaga (knee): Limited, Limited
S Morgan Burnett (calf): DNP, DNP
WR Randall Cobb (shoulder): Limited, Limited
OLB Jayrone Elliott (quad): Full, Full
CB Demetri Goodson (hamstring): Limited, Limited
WR James Jones (hamstring): Limited, Limited
LB Clay Matthews (quad): Full, Limited, Limited
S Sean Richardson (neck): Not listed, Limited
ILB Jake Ryan (hamstring): DNP, DNP
Rams Injury Report
Player (Injury): Wednesday, Thursday
S Maurice Alexander (groin): DNP, DNP
LB Alex Ogletree (ankle): DNP, DNP
RB Chase Reynolds (knee): Full, Full
DE Eugene Sims (knee): Full, Full
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