The Green Bay Packers have been dealt another serious injury blow to the inside linebacker position.
Second-year linebacker D.J. Smith will join starter Desmond Bishop on the injured reserve list after the Packers announced Monday afternoon that Smith tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and will be “lost for the season.”
Smith, a 2011 fifth-round pick, had been starting in place of Bishop, who tore his hamstring during the preseason opener in San Diego.
Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said the club had not yet decided who would replace Smith as the starter alongside A.J. Hawk, although Brad Jones played the majority of snaps inside after Smith went down Sunday in Houston. Other options include Robert Francois, who started a game at inside linebacker in 2011, converted outside linebacker Jamari Lattimore and 2012 fifth-round pick Terrell Manning.
McCarthy wasn’t able to give any new information on injuries to cornerback Sam Shields (shin) or linebacker Nick Perry (knee) but that more would be known later in the week. At this point, one could assume neither is injured severely. McCarthy said that Perry’s injury is better than the Packers thought it would be originally.
Other tidbits from McCarthy’s Monday press conference:
- Thought the grass surface in Houston was different, definitely harder than most. McCarthy didn’t know if that had any factor in the injuries Sunday.
- Praised Alex Green and said that he’ll be the team’s lead running back. Green is no longer on a snap count and appears capable of handling a full load.
- Tight end Andrew Quarless and linebacker Frank Zombo “definitely” look ready to come off the PUP list. Tackle Derek Sherrod remains further off.
- Rookie cornerback Casey Hayward received a game ball on defense Sunday.
- Said linebacker A.J. Hawk played his best game of the 2012 season Sunday.
- On the blocked punt, poor technique by the guard and tackle. Let their guard down.
- Nose tackle B.J. Raji was close to playing Sunday night, but Dr. McKenzie wasn’t OK with the strength.