Bulaga no worse for wear after return from knee injury
Mike McCarthy hadn’t watched the film, of course – the game had just ended.
But evidence the Green Bay Packers coach had Sunday afternoon – having watched the game in real time, and then seeing Bryan Bulaga in the locker room afterward – led McCarthy to believe that the veteran right tackle’s left knee had emerged from the team’s 24-10 victory over the St. Louis Rams no worse for wear.
“I thought he looked good in the locker room, that’s all I’m really concerned about. He was happy, jumping around,” McCarthy said. “There’s nothing like a big, old, sweaty hug from a 320-pound offensive tackle. I think he looks good.”
And, he felt good. Although he started slowly, allowing an early pressure after missing the past three games with a sprained medial collateral ligament and meniscus damage in his left knee, Bulaga quickly recovered and was solid the rest of the way.
“[The knee] didn’t bother me. I felt a little rusty in some aspects, but from a health standpoint and how it felt, it felt good,” Bulaga said. “[I] didn’t notice any pain or anything in it throughout the game, so we’ll just start out with that.
“I had some bad plays, I’m willing to admit that, but from a health standpoint I felt fine.”
The only drawback for Bulaga, who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in August 2013 and underwent surgery shortly thereafter, was that he lost his offensive line next-door neighbor, right guard T.J. Lang, to a knee injury during the second quarter. Preliminary tests showed Lang did not damage his ACL, but he was scheduled for more tests Monday to determine what was damaged.
Josh Walker replaced Lang for most of the rest of the game, although Don Barclay did play one series at right guard, too. It’s unclear what the Packers would do if Lang can’t go next Sunday against the San Diego Chargers.
“Obviously T.J.’s a big part of our line. He’s a veteran. He’s smart. I rely on him a bunch myself,” Bulaga said. “But when something like that happens, it’s next guy [up]. and we’ve got to pick it. Walk and Don, I thought they did a good job. Obviously throughout the week you only get so many reps during the week, but I thought Walk did a good job, stepped in nicely. He battled. Again, I’m not going to talk about guy’s injuries, but we’ll just have to see what goes on next week. No matter who’s out there, we need to be ready to go and play.”