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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Packers Injury Update: B.J. Raji out for the season

By on 8/24/2014 11:30:00 AM

Green Bay Packers nose tackle B.J. Raji is out for the season after sustaining a torn right biceps in Friday's preseason game against the Oakland Raiders, NFL Insider Ian Rapoport reported.  The confirmation came late yesterday afternoon after Packers coach Mike McCarthy said that Green Bay would get multiple tests and opinions before sealing Raji's fate.  As NFL players begin to drop like flies, Raji is the first starter the Packers have lost to an injury this preseason.

Raji sustained a torn right biceps injury in the first quarter of Friday night's 31-21 win over Oakland. He played only seven snaps against the Raiders before exiting and stayed on the sideline for the rest of the game with a sleeve over his right arm. Afterward, he was seen in the locker room with a bag of ice on his right biceps.

McCarthy spoke on Raji after the game:
You have an initial exam. He's pretty confident about it. That's why you do the tests. We'll see what the tests say.
Unfortunately for Green Bay, Raji's confidence was quickly dissipated as news broke out that his 2014 NFL season was over before it even began.  Rapoport posted the bad news on Twitter:
The Packers re-signed Raji this offseason to a one-year, $4 million contract after he drew minimal interest on the free-agent market. The 28-year-old's play had slipped in the last few years as he moved to defensive end.  Raji has posted 129 combined tackles with 10.5 sacks in 76 regular season games, missing only four in the last five seasons.

Upon his return to the Packers, who drafted him in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft, Raji moved back to nose tackle from defensive end and was having a productive training camp.  The Packers anticipated Raji clogging the middle in 2014, allowing their linebackers to roam free and make plays.
Mike Morbeck via Wikimedia Commons
Now the Packers must look for a replacement for Raji and will look to second-year pro Josh Boyd and undrafted rookie Mike Pennel in the short term. Letroy Guion was signed this offseason as a backup at nose tackle but is battling a hamstring injury.

The push for a younger, more talented tackle was a factor during the offseason, as they did not choose to re-sign 34 year-old tackle Ryan Pickett during free agency.  Another possible option is former Green Bay defensive lineman Johnny Jolly, another free agency loss even though he isn't a natural nose tackle.

The league is once again battling with season-ending injuries throughout the preseason and still has about two weeks left before the season officially opens on September 4th.

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