The Packers won't have their usual starting inside linebackers against the New York Giants, head coach Mike McCarthy announced at his Friday press conference.
Neither A.J. Hawk nor Desmond Bishop will play in Sunday's game, both of them officially ruled out.
"It's a doctor's decision," said McCarthy. "We didn't feel that they'd be ready to play by Sunday. How close? I don't really have a measuring stick for you. They'll be evaluated again on Monday, and we'll see where they stand next Wednesday."
Both Hawk and Bishop were pulled out of the Packers' last game on Thanksgiving against the Detroit Lions with calf injuries.
D.J. Smith and Robert Francois will presumably step in for the incumbent starters when the Packers travel to New York. Smith and Francois filled in Hawk and Bishop in Detroit and played well, Smith notching four tackles and Francois grabbing an interception.
Typically Hawk and Bishop would wear the helmets equipped with headsets to receive play calls from the Packers coaches. By rule only two players on defense can wear the headset.
McCarthy said Smith would wear one headset, but they were still deciding who would wear the other one. It will come down to a choice between cornerback Charles Woodson and safety Morgan Burnett.
The coaching staff will make that decision in their upcoming game management meeting. McCarthy said all three players practiced wearing headsets this week during practice.
"It's really different if you've never done it," McCarthy said of wearing the headset. "To have A) a voice in your helmet and B) the volume of it. It's a lot louder than I think people realize, especially if you're going on the road."
With no other true inside linebackers on the roster, Brad Jones will likely be the top backup to either Smith or Francois. Jones, whose natural position is outside linebacker, practiced some on the inside this week.
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