The Green Bay Packers learned today that starting defensive tackle Johnny Jolly will miss the Packers next two games, and possibly more, after he injured his shoulder in the team's victory over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.
Jolly injured the same right shoulder twice in the first quarter against the Panthers. He was taken to the locker room for X-rays after he initially hurt the shoulder. He was back on the field later in the first quarter for Carolina's next possession and did further damage to the shoulder when he blindsided the Panthers' Justin Hartwig with a block that sprung Tramon Williams for a 94-yard touchdown return on a pooch punt.
Jolly told McCarthy after the game that he would be ready to play Thursday against the Lions. However, team doctor Patrick McKenzie overruled the second-year pro upon further examination this morning.
"It will at least be a couple of weeks at a minimum," said McCarthy said today.
Jolly has played in all 10 of Green Bay's games this season, and made his seventh start against the Panthers. He left the game with one tackle.
Fortunately for the Packers, the injury occurred at the team's strongest position. Without Jolly, the Packers probably will start Corey Williams next to veteran Ryan Pickett. Williams has started three games this season. He finished with four tackles, two sacks and two forced fumbles against the Panthers.
For depth behind Williams and Pickett, the Packers can turn to either No. 1 draft pick Justin Harrell, veteran Colin Cole or Daniel Muir to fill the void. All three were inactive for Sunday's game against the Panthers. The Packers played with eight defensive lineman on Sunday.
Harrell has played in two of 10 games this season. He was slowed by an ankle sprain earlier this month, but returned to practice last week. Cole has played in five games, but has not seen much action since he sustained a mild concussion in practice prior to Green Bay's Oct. 7 game against Chicago. Muir, the only non-drafted rookie to make the 53-man roster at the start of the season, has yet to be activated for a game this season.
"Johnny's having an excellent season for us," said McCarthy. "A young and improving player. It really started in the offseason. He came on strong more in the practice environment last year, but he had a good off-season program. Johnny's probably the most instinctive defensive lineman we have. Johnny is progressing and will be a good player here for a long time."