Green Bay Packers left tackle Bryan Bulaga has elected to have surgery to repair his torn ACL and will miss the rest of the season, coach Mike McCarthy confirmed after Wednesday’s practice.
Bulaga sustained the injury during the seventh play of Saturday’s Family Night Scrimmage but took all of the snaps with the No. 1 offense. He played so well that he contemplated trying to play through the injury, and general manager Ted Thompson on Tuesday afternoon said, “We’re just going to hope” that a second opinion from renowned doctor James Andrews would deliver some good news.
Instead, Andrews’ conclusion matched the team’s diagnosis, and Bulaga will have surgery sometime next week.
Given the timing of the injury, he should be ready for training camp, or at least close to it. Coupled with last year’s hip injury, Bulaga will have missed at least 25 consecutive games (including playoffs) due to significant injuries. As he enters his contract year, Bulaga could wind up back at right tackle, depending on how well fourth-round pick David Bakhtiari handles the duties at left tackle.
“It’s definitely the right decision,” McCarthy said. “If you look at the history of the way we’ve treated players, we’ve never advised a player to take the harder road. At the end of the day, it is the player’s decision. The thing with Bryan Bualga is just the fact (of) the way the injury happened, his response to the injury, the way he kept playing. To come here the next day and be doing one-legged squats (and) you see him walking down the hall, he doesn’t look like a man that’s getting ready to have knee surgery. So, I think for everybody involved and most importantly for Bryan, I think there was just some hope that maybe it wasn’t as bad as the initial opinion. You never ultimately know until you go in there, but all indications look that he needs to have the surgery.”
New injuries: RB Eddie Lacy (hamstring).
McCarthy said the injury is “something that’s been bothering him” but had no indication the injury would be a long-term issue.
Old injuries: WR Kevin Dorsey (hamstring), WR Charles Johnson (knee), RB DuJuan Harris (knee), S Sean Richardson (neck), CB Casey Hayward (hamstring), CB Tramon Williams (knee), OL J.C. Tretter (broken ankle), LT Bryan Bulaga (knee), OT Derek Sherrod (leg), TE Andrew Quarless (quad), TE Ryan Taylor (knee), WR Jordy Nelson (knee), DE Jerel Worthy (ACL).
Returning from injuries: WR Randall cob (bicep), RB Alex Green (knee), DE Mike Neal (abdominal), DE Datone Jones (illness).
Neal practiced for the first time of training camp, though he was limited mostly to individual drills. During the daily one-on-one pass-rushing drill, Neal went 1-1 at outside linebacker and 1-1 as an interior defensive lineman.
Cobb was dressed in full pads but was extremely limited. “Just being cautious,” McCarthy said.
-- Mason Crosby and Giorgio Tavecchio each went 3-for-4 during a field-goal drill. Crosby converted from 36 and 46 yards, missed far to the right from 50 yards, and bounced back by hitting from 48. Tavecchio hit from 36, missed to the left from 46, and connected from 51 and 48.
-- Neither B.J. Coleman nor Vince Young were impressive during their team reps. Coleman threw two interceptions and Young tossed one.
-- There were three fights during the “combo” running drill, including Sam Barrington vs. T.J. Lang and Robert Francois vs. Greg Van Roten. The biggest came when Johnny Jolly had wrapped up Angelo Pease and Gilbert Pena gave Pease a hard shove to the turf. Among the skirmishes that broke out was Jermichael Finley vs. Jarvis Reed.
-- McCarthy said he's tried to schedule a scrimmage against another team but couldn't make it happen. "I've had a few conversations in the past but, frankly, it just doesn't work for us. There's some components to how we go about training camp and expectations that may be part of those types of decisions. The Green Bay Packers will never leave Green Bay. Our training camp is here. It's for our fans and just the environment that's created here. As far as trying to make it work, there was talk, I think I tried two years in a row and it just didn't work for us."
-- Practice tomorrow begins at 8:20 a.m. It’s scheduled to be full pads but, with a preseason game on Friday night, that might be subject to change. The Packers host the Cardinals at 7 p.m. on Friday. There is no practice on Saturday and Sunday and no public practice on Monday. The next viewing opportunities are at 11:15 a.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday (both full pads) and 11 a.m. on Thursday (helmets).
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