Green Bay Packers linebacker Desmond Bishop (55) is helped off the field after being injured during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the San Diego Chargers on Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012, in San Diego. / Lenny Ignelzi/AP
SAN DIEGO — The Packers sustained a potentially serious injury to a starter when inside linebacker Desmond Bishop left with an injured right knee in the first quarter Thursday night against the San Diego Chargers.
Coach Mike McCarthy characterized the injury as potentially to Bishop’s knee and hamstring.
“Desmond’s injury didn’t look very good,” McCarthy said after the game. “Hopefully we’ll get some good news as further testing goes on. It’s up in the air, talking to Dr. (Pat) McKenzie. It’s a knee sprain, potentially hamstring.”
Bishop was injured on the first play of the Packers defense’s second series when someone fell on his right leg during a pile up on a run by the Chargers’ Ronnie Brown. Bishop stayed down for an extended period of time and eventually was helped off the field by two members of the team’s medical staff.
D.J. Smith replaced Bishop with the No. 1 defense.
The Packers had four other players injured in the game also: Cornerback Davon House (shoulder), safety Anthony Levin (back), receiver Shaky Smithson (ankle) and receiver Diondre Borel (groin).
McCabe put on injured reserve
The Packers liked enough of what they saw of undrafted rookie tackle Mike McCabe in the offseason and three days of training camp that they placed him on injured reserve for the season rather than release him injured and pay him an injury settlement.
McCabe, who played in college at Holy Cross, injured his hip in the Packers’ first practice in pads (and third day of practice of camp). He sustained damage to a muscle in his hip and would have had to miss the rest of the preseason and the early part of the regular season if the Packers had not put him on IR. Now that he’s on IR, he won’t be able to practice or play all season.
“Mike will get another opportunity and shot to make the Packers’ roster (in 2013),” Sean Stellato, McCabe’s agent, told the Republican-American newspaper of Waterbury, Conn., on Thursday. “Going on the injured-reserve list is the best possible scenario. He will be able to work on his upper-body strength, learn the playbook better, and the most important thing, he’ll be able to get healthy. (Packers director of pro personnel) Eliot Wolf consulted with the (team) doctor (Pat McKenzie). The Packers like him, but they didn’t think that it was a realistic chance that he could compete at the highest-level now.”
The Packers replaced McCabe on the 90-man roster by signing street free-agent Reggie Wells (6-4, 318), who has started games at both tackles and left guard in his 10-year NFL career. Wells started 90 games with the Arizona Cardinals from 2003-09, was with Philadelphia in 2010 and played in five games last season with Carolina.
Wells did not suit up for the Packers’ preseason game Thursday night against San Diego.
The Packers also acquired receiver Andrew Brewer off waivers after the Philadelphia Eagles cut him this week. Brewer (6-2, 216), who played in college at Northwestern, played with the UFL’s Omaha Nighthawks in 2010 and ’11. He reportedly ran the 40 in 4.60 seconds at his campus workout in 2010.
Brewer was suited up for the Packers’ game Thursday night even though he hadn’t taken part in a practice with them.
“He’s a big, fast possession receiver,” said Matt Yates, Brewer’s agent. “Superb values as a kid. He’s very smart. A great kid.”
The Packers didn’t suit up 18 players Thursday night, including defensive back Charles Woodson (rest), starting left tackle Marshall Newhouse (concussion), starting receiver Greg Jennings (concussion) and starting tight end Jermichael Finley (quad). Woodson did conditioning sprints a couple of hours before the game.
The Packers’ other scratches were: RB Duane Bennett (knee), RB Brandon Saine (hamstring), FB Jon Hoese (hamstring), CB Sam Shields (elbow), TE Eric Lair (knee), LB Frank Zombo (hamstring), DE Johnny Jones (knee), G-T Reggie Wells (just signed), G Ray Dominguez (ankle), DT Mike Daniels (knee, groin), T Derek Sherrod (lower leg), TE Andrew Quarless (knee), TE Ryan Taylor (concussion) and WR Tori Gurley (groin).
The Packers’ first kickoff coverage team consisted of kicker Mason Crosby plus Jarrett Bush, Tom Crabtree, Robert Francois, Jamari Lattimore, D.J. Smith, Morgan Burnett, Jerron McMillian, M.D. Jennings, Davon House and Brad Jones.
• Former Packers safety Atari Bigby was in the Chargers’ starting lineup and recovered a first-quarter fumble by James Starks.
• With Woodson not playing, the Packers started M.D. Jennings at safety in their base defense in his place. Jarrett Bush replaced Woodson as the slot corner in the nickel defense, and McMillian took Bush’s spot as the other slot cornerback in the dime.
• Diondre Borel had a tough night in the return game. He was the returner for the No. 1 kickoff return instead of Randall Cobb, who handled those duties last year. Borel fumbled his first kickoff return, which the Chargers recovered. Then in the second quarter he lined up deep with the No. 2 punt-return unit and took a hard hit on a short, high punt he should have fair caught.
• Cobb was the return man with the No. 1 punt-return unit. The other players on the kickoff-return unit were Bush, Crabtree, Francois, Jones, M.D. Jennings, James Jones, Daniel Muir, Jerel Worthy, Brad Jones and Anthony Levine.
The gunners on the No. 1 punt-coverage team were Burnett and Bush.
Shaky Smithson was the returner on the Packers’ No. 2 punt-return team and muffed the catch on his first return, though he recovered.