The injury bug was bound to make its way to Green Bay at some point but we were all hoping it wouldn’t be so soon. Not even a week into training camp and the Packers may have lost two major contributors on defense for an extended period of time. First, safety Kentrell Brice was carted off the practice field during a special teams drill and then linebacker Jake Ryan was carted off towards the end of Monday’s practice after participating in 11 on 11 team periods. Both injuries were sustained to their lower bodies respectively and no timetable has been given on when or if they might return this season. General manager Brian Gutekunst spoke to the media Tuesday and said the team will utilize their depth before venturing into free agency.
Brice was earning reps on the first team defense alongside HaHa Clinton-Dix before suffering another setback on Monday. The third-year safety spent half of the 2017 season on injured reserve with a severe ankle injury. Head coach Mike McCarthy noted how well the 5-11 200 pound safety was doing in his recovery during OTAs as he expected Brice to compete with Josh Jones for the open safety position. It appeared he was out in front for the time being.
“Oh, man, that was bad,” Jones said. “You hate to see that, especially as a player. That’s your brother. You don’t like to see an injury, period.
There’s still hope his 2018 season isn’t totally lost as the team sounded relatively optimistic. McCarthy stated Brice would not practice Tuesday and that the medical staff was waiting for swelling to go down to determine the extent of the damage. They were able to determine there were no breaks.
The same can’t be said for Ryan who is going through testing today on his knee. Entering his fourth NFL season, Ryan was seen thriving on the field in extreme pain during 11 on 11 reps. Initially, reports indicated fear of an ACL tear but that has yet to be confirmed.
“He was just devastated,” fellow linebacker Blake Martinez said shortly after practice.
Ryan was expected to start next to Martinez as he did for 12 games last year. The upcoming season was looking like a prove it year for the 26-year-old linebacker entering the final year of his rookie contract. His future in Green Bay now remains up in the air.
The Packers have some depth at both positions, however, the possibility of bringing in a free agent can’t be ruled out.
___________________Brandon Carwile was a Cheesehead at birth. His dad grew up attending games at Lambeau and passed on the legacy. He has covered the Packers for over five years and currently works with packerstalk.com. Find him on twitter at @PackerScribe.