After healthy start, Packers limping through September

-- For a team who came out of the preseason as the healthiest they've been in years, that took a sharp left turn for the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.

In the midst of a 31-17 loss at FedEx Field, the Packers lost four starters to injury. To make matters worse, one of them is season-ending.

Defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson, signed by the Packers to a one-year deal over the offseason in an effort to reconjoin him with his former defensive coordinator, Mike Pettine, suffered what is believed to be a "significant" ankle injury.

Wilkerson left the stadium in an ambulance on Sunday, and the team wasted no time in ruling him out; a testament to the severity of the injury.

Coach Mike McCarthy said Wilkerson spent the night in Washington before returning to Green Bay on Monday, but only after a procedure was done allowing him to travel.

Wilkerson is likely headed to injured reserve in the coming days, which would open up a roster spot. The only question is whether or not the Packers will seek outside resources or elevate one of the two defensive linemen they have on their practice squad to the active roster: seventh-round pick James Looney or undrafted free agent Tyler Lancaster.

Starting right tackle Bryan Bulaga left the game with what was eventually labeled as a back injury, leaving his backup, Jason Spriggs, to replace him for a majority of the afternoon.

Another staple along the right side of the Packers' offensive line, guard Justin McCray, is dealing with a shoulder injury as well. Lucas Patrick filled in for him, but the Packers eventually turned to Byron Bell, who they signed back in May.

McCray locked down the starting right guard position throughout training camp.

McCarthy said both players are still undergoing tests and their status for this week's game against the Buffalo Bills is still unknown.

A fourth starter, outside linebacker Nick Perry, left the game late in the fourth quarter after a violent collision with Redskins running back Kapri Bibbs. McCarthy confirmed on Monday that Perry was in the league's concussion protocol.

There won't be any mentioning of Perry being able to play on Sunday if he can't clear protocol within the coming days. If he does so later in the week without practicing, there's a good chance McCarthy still keeps him sidelined.

The Packers can work with injuries along the offensive line -- even with Aaron Rodgers' knee injury hindering him -- thanks to their multitude of versatile bodies. The defensive line, however, is a little tricky. The only suitors there currently are Mike Daniels, Kenny Clark, Dean Lowry and Montravius Adams.

Perry's injury could prove to be the most detrimental, depending on how long he's out of commission. The Packers were already thin enough on the edge as it is.

Through three games this season, Perry registered 10 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble.

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Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV. He's the voice of The Leap on iTunes and can be heard on The Scoop KLGR 1490 AM every Saturday morning. He's also a contributor on the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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Comments (8)

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Lare's picture

September 25, 2018 at 02:46 pm

"The Packers can work with injuries along the offensive line -- even with Aaron Rodgers' knee injury hindering him -- thanks to their multitude of versatile bodies."

I suppose that's one way of looking at it.

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Michael Hughes's picture

September 25, 2018 at 03:26 pm

No they can't. Rodgers can no longer take hits. Bulaga's injury would be the most concerning if it wasn't for the fact nobody expects him to last the season anyway.

OLine is probably the most obvious casualty of drafting exclusively defence for years.

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henry113's picture

September 25, 2018 at 05:04 pm

The Packers are screwed and its only September.

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Lphill's picture

September 25, 2018 at 04:09 pm

Kevin King is the new Nick Perry , waste of a pick , now next year one of the Packers first round picks will again be a corner and the other maybe a safety, forget edge rusher they will be gone by the second round.

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Skip greenBayless's picture

September 25, 2018 at 04:30 pm

All I care about injury wise is how the hell is Kevin King and is he going to play. Kevin King is so damn good and valuable to his team that he's now the 2nd most important player on the team to Aaron Rodgers. If both Kevin and Aaron are playing we have a high chance of winning. The defense is like night and day when King is not in and that's a lot. This guy needs to return ASAP. Getting tired of his injuries. Can he just once play a full game without getting hurt?

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Gort's picture

September 25, 2018 at 07:55 pm

"The Packers can work with injuries along the offensive line" is the dumbest statement that I have seen by a staff writer since I started following this site. Zachary, did you watch Spriggs? I am no expert, but I suspect that when Andy hands out the grades in a day or 2 the poor performance of the right side of the O-Line will show up prominently

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Since'61's picture

September 25, 2018 at 09:52 pm

With Perry's injury this should mean more snaps for Gilbert. Thanks, Since '61

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

September 26, 2018 at 02:56 am

Perry indeed has 10 solo tackles, 14 altogether. He is a competent run defender. Most of the reason for GB allowing 4.7 yards per carry is Gilbert and Fackrell, plus some poor run support from the DBs. It has not been Clark, Daniels, and Wilkerson. The loss of Perry will hurt.

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