Bryan Bulaga sustained a season-ending knee injury in Monday night’s loss to the Detroit Lions, ensuring the Green Bay Packers’ preferred offensive line will have played together for less than a full game all year.
Bulaga suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament, ESPN confirmed on Tuesday. NFL Network was first to report that the 28-year-old, eighth-year veteran tore his ACL. That’s what the Packers feared immediately after the game, when coach Mike McCarthy said the team’s medical staff “seemed very concerned about it.”
Speaking Tuesday, McCarthy called it “tough” to hear about the injury.
“Bad news on Bryan Bulaga,” the coach said. “It’s very unfortunate. He will be lost for the season with his knee injury. He’s had a stretch of bad luck this year. It started with the ankle injury there in training camp. I feel bad for him. I thought he had clearly come off his best season last year.”
Monday’s game was just the second time all season that the Packers had all five of their top offensive linemen together. The first time was in Week 6 at Minnesota, but it lasted for only 15 plays before left guard Lane Taylor sustained an ankle injury. The group played together for 42 snaps against the Lions before Bulaga had to be helped off the field and carted to the locker room.
The Packers (4-4) have started seven different offensive line combinations in eight games this season.
Bulaga missed the entire 2013 season with a torn ACL in his left knee. This injury is believed to be to his right knee.
Earlier this year, Bulaga suffered a sprained right ankle in training camp and missed the first two games of the regular season. He returned for Week 3 but couldn’t make it through that game, either. He returned for Week 5.
Left tackle David Bakhtiari missed four games because of a hamstring injury. Only center Corey Linsley and right guard Jahri Evans have played in every game.
Even Bulaga’s replacement on Monday night, first-year pro Justin McCray, got hurt against the Lions. He rolled an ankle on the final play of the game — a 1-yard touchdown run by Jamaal Williams on an untimed down after a defensive penalty with no time on the clock extended the game.
Last week, the Packers used one of their two injured reserve/designated to return spots on backup tackle Jason Spriggs, who injured his hamstring on a special teams play in Week 1. They’re saving the other for quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who could return from his broken collarbone no earlier than Week 15. Spriggs, however, is not eligible to play until after Sunday’s game at Chicago. Another tackle, Kyle Murphy, is on injured reserve after undergoing foot surgery and will not play again this season.
Also Tuesday, safety Morgan Burnett was ruled out of Sunday’s game at Chicago because of the groin injury he suffered last night against the Lions.
“I don’t have a timeline for you,” McCarthy said. “But he will not be available this week against Chicago.”