‘Tremendous loss’: Pack LB Gary out for season
5: 05 PM ET
Rob DemovskyESPN Staff Writer
- Covered Packers for Green Bay Press-Gazette from 1997-2013
- Two-time Wisconsin Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association
GREEN BAY, Wis. — The Packers already know they lost one starter for the rest of the season and are worried about the possibility of losing another.
That was just part of the fallout from Sunday’s 15-9 loss at the Detroit Lions in which nine players were injured or needed medical treatment.
The most severe was to outside linebacker Rashan Gary, who suffered a torn ACL in his right knee. Coach Matt LaFleur confirmed that Gary’s season was over on Monday.
LaFleur also said there’s concern that cornerback Eric Stokes‘ injuries were severe enough to be season-ending. After suffering ankle and knee injuries, Stokes was left with a boot on his right foot. He was also on crutches.
Gary has been the Packers’ most effective pass-rusher and perhaps their best defensive player this season with six sacks and 31 pressures. According to ESPN Stats & Information research he ranked third in pressures in the NFL through Sunday’s games.
” It’s a huge loss, not only from a production standpoint but also because he competes at the highest level,” LaFleur stated. He is one of the most grittiest members of this team. He will be missed for the hard work he puts in every day. It’s going to be hard to replace someone like him. “
Gary, a first-round draft pick in 2019, was a prime candidate for a contract extension. The Packers exercised the fifth-year option on his rookie deal, and that is guaranteed for $10. 89 million. It’s not clear if he will be available for the start next season.
Receiver Romeo Doubs and running back Aaron Jones both suffered ankle injuries against the Lions. LaFleur would not rule out the possibility that Jones could play Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys. Doubs’ injury is not season-ending but could keep him out of the game for several weeks.
Two other players, receiver Christian Watson and linebacker Krys Barnes, were taken off the field to be evaluated for concussions and did not finish the game. LaFleur informed Barnes that he was in the concussion protocol. However, he said Monday that Watson didn’t suffer any concussions despite being kept out for the rest of the game.
“That was all precautionary. I think that’s just a reflection of the times we live in and what happened vs. Buffalo.” LaFleur stated. “But it was 100% ruled that it was not a concussion. He was actually desperate to return to the game and we felt it was best to stop him because of what happened in Buffalo. “
While all that was going on, left tackle David Bakhtiari‘s recurring knee issues kept him out for most of the second half; he returned for the Packers’ final series. Right guard Jon Runyan (knee) and tight end Robert Tonyan (cramps) also came out of the game briefly but returned.
The Packers (3-6), have lost five straight and will host the Cowboys (2-2).
The author of 5 books, 3 of which are New York Times bestsellers. I’ve been published in more than 100 newspapers and magazines and am a frequent commentator on NPR.