The Green Bay Packers have a giant hole in the middle of their defensive line after B.J. Raji tore his right bicep in Friday’s preseason game, leaving him out for the entire year.
Raji suffered the injury in the Packers’ third preseason game, leaving Lambeau Field with a large bag of ice on his right arm. Doctors later confirmed that he had torn his bicep muscle, and sources close to the team said B.J. Raji will now miss the entire season.
Officially, the Packers were revealing little about the extent of the injury.
“You have an initial exam,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said after the game. “He’s pretty confident about it. That’s why you do the tests. We’ll see what the tests say.”
Raji had just signed a one-year deal with the Packers in March, and until this point he had been known for his durability. Despite serving as the team’s main run-stopper, a difficult and often dangerous position, he was able to steer clear of injuries and played in 76 out of the team’s 80 regular season games, including 62 starts in the past four seasons.
The B.J. Raji injury could force the Green Bay Packers to turn to undrafted rookie Mike Pennel, or possibly to go to the free agent wire. There they could find a familiar face, as former Packers defensive lineman Ryan Pickett remains unsigned. The 35-year-old Pickett spent the last eight seasons in Green Bay, though the team chose not to bring him back this year.
The Green Bay Packers had signed former Minnesota Vikings backup nose tackle Letroy Guion to play behind Raji, but he has been hampered by a hamstring injury that’s left him unable to practice this year.
B.J. Raji isn’t the only member of the Green Bay Packers to be lost to injury this year. Three players already suffered season-ending knee injuries, including receiver Jared Abbrederis, offensive lineman Don Barclay, and tight end Colt Lyerla — all backups.