The Green Bay Packers returned from their bye Monday to the harsh reality of assessing their long injury list. First up was right tackle Bryan Bulaga, whom the team confirmed will miss the rest of the season because of a hip injury he suffered Nov. 4 against the Arizona Cardinals.
The decision sets in motion a number of consequences, not the least of which is the departure of arguably the Packers' best offensive lineman this season. The Packers are weaker at two positions as a result because their replacement plan requires left guard T.J. Lang to switch positions and sides to right tackle. Backup Evan Dietrich-Smith would take over at left guard for Lang, and the Packers would be left with two undrafted rookies -- Don Barclay and Greg Van Roten -- as their only depth on the line.
(Veteran Derek Sherrod has been on the physically unable to perform list all season but began practicing Monday.)
Bulaga had a tough game in Week 3 against the Seattle Seahawks but otherwise has been consistent and effective this season. Pro Football Focus ranks him as the NFL's eight-best offensive tackle this season, debiting him for one sack allowed and two quarterback hits.
In addition to Bulaga, the Packers practiced Monday without receiver Greg Jennings (abdomen), cornerback Charles Woodson (collarbone) and linebacker Clay Matthews (hamstring), according to reporters who covered practice. The Packers used Bulaga's roster spot to re-sign linebacker Vic So'oto, an indication they might not have Matthews for this Sunday's game against the Detroit Lions.