The Green Bay Packers regained the services of right tackle Bryan Bulaga on Sunday but saw three starters exit Sunday’s victory over St. Louis.
While coach Mike McCarthy wouldn’t provide any updates on the latest additions to his team’s list of walking wounded, between guard T.J. Lang (knee), nose tackle B.J. Raji (groin) and outside linebacker Nick Perry (shoulder), the most concern is about Perry. Perry had offseason shoulder surgery and is in the midst of arguably the best stretch of his injury-plagued career with 3.5 sacks in the past three games, including a half-sack against the Rams. After sitting out the opener, he has 12 tackles, 3.5 sacks, five tackles for losses and a forced fumble in four games. His play has been a major reason why the Packers have 16 sacks the past three weeks and rank second with 21.
“You never want to see any of your players go through injury stretches,” McCarthy said a day after a 24-10 victory over the Rams. “Unfortunately, my experience has been for players, sometimes it comes in bunches. They go through a two-year period or so. It is unfortunate. Nick has been having a great year, so as we continue to gather the information we’ll see how he is and we’ll have a better idea on all these guys on Wednesday.”
Lang politely declined an interview request but didn’t appear to be having any difficulty walking toward the locker room exit while wearing only a white sleeve – not a brace – on his right knee. With San Diego coming to Lambeau Field in the Packers’ final game before the bye, Lang said only that he’d be “ready to go” after being helped off the field during the second quarter.
If he can’t play, Josh Walker presumably would get the start against the Chargers on Sunday. He replaced Lang for one series, then was replaced by Don Barclay, before playing the entire second half. McCarthy said the switch wasn’t performance-related. It might have been about timing, with the Packers possibly favoring Barclay’s experience when they took the ball with 1:40 left in the first half.
“It was fun to get my first real action,” Walker said. “I thought I came out a little flat in my first series but, overall, after watching the tape, I thought I did a pretty decent job. I’ve definitely got to get better.”
Raji missed most of the second half. An MRI showed only inflammation, he said. Watching the film, Raji said he got his foot "caught up" during the first half. He gave it a go after halftime and thought the defense would be better off without him.
"With these injuries, I was told a couple days could be a big difference," Raji said. "It could be a setback. I just don’t know at this point, so it would be tough to speculate."
Defensive line is one of the Packers’ best positions. Against St. Louis, Letroy Guion moved from defensive end to Raji’s spot at nose tackle and Mike Pennel stepped in at end. However, with only five players on the active roster, the depth is quality rather than quantity. Bruce Gaston, who started the season on the 53-man roster, and sixth-round pick Christian Ringo are on the practice squad.
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