Packers lose DL Wilkerson for season after surgery
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — The Green Bay Packers lost at Washington on Sunday, and Mike Daniels lost one of his "buddies" when fellow defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson sustained a season-ending ankle injury.
"You never want to see anybody go down. You don't want to see your worst enemy go down out there," Daniels said Monday. "When you see one of your buddies go down, that makes it even worse. Mo and I are pretty close. He sits right next to me on the plane. I'm like, fudge. It's just all bad."
Wilkerson underwent surgery on his left ankle after the game in the Washington area, with Packers coach Mike McCarthy saying Monday that Wilkerson's injury was "significant."
"There was a procedure that he needed before he could travel," McCarthy said.
Wilkerson was engaged with one of Washington's offensive linemen on a running play to Chris Thompson late in the first half. Safety Kentrell Brice missed the tackle and landed on Wilkerson's ankle, sending the defensive lineman falling backward. He was carted off the field with his hands covering his facemask.
Signed as a free agent with a one-year deal worth up to $8 million, Wilkerson, 28, is one of several Packers with injuries. Outside linebacker Nick Perry (concussion), right tackle Bryan Bulaga (back) and right guard Justin McCray (shoulder) also were knocked out of the game.
"We're beat up coming out of the game," McCarthy said. "You look at the course of these first three weeks, they're battling like hell. We're going to have to see how it sorts out. (The injury report) will be part of our game planning."
Wilkerson, Daniels and Kenny Clark had played the vast majority of the defensive line snaps to start the season. Without Wilkerson, who had five tackles in three games, the Packers will lean more on Dean Lowry, a starter last season, and Montravius Adams, a third-round pick last year who missed most of his rookie season with a foot injury.
"Mo's a really good player and we definitely are going to miss him, but we've got the most confidence in Dean," Clark said. "Dean was a starter last year, played a lot of football and he's played a lot this year. We're not concerned about losing Mo and having Dean come in and replace him."
Still, the injury is a setback to a defense that's been plagued by inconsistency through three games. That unit played excellent football during the second half of the comeback win against Chicago, the first half of the tie against Minnesota, and the second half in the loss to Washington. However, Green Bay gave up a combined 50 points in the fourth quarter vs. the Vikings and the first half vs. the Redskins.
Tackling and big plays have been major issues. Washington took a 7-0 lead to start the game on a long touchdown pass to Paul Richardson that failed to defend. Brice also was partially to blame on the 75-yard touchdown reception by Minnesota's Stefon Diggs. McCarthy, however, defended the play of his first-time starter.
"I'm all for Kentrell," McCarthy said. "You've got to look at his whole body of work. I really like the way he's taken his opportunity and what he's done with it throughout the spring and the summer. K.B. will bounce back and I think our defense as a whole, the performance in the second half is exactly what you're looking for. They gave us a lot of opportunities, and so we'll grow from this experience."
Meanwhile, playing with an injured left knee, Aaron Rodgers was sacked four times. McCarthy said Rodgers "hopefully" is feeling better than he did at this time last week, but the coach wasn't sure how much Rodgers would practice this week to get ready for Buffalo. The last two weeks, he's only practiced on Saturday.