McCarthy expects Bulaga to play vs. Bears

Ryan Wood
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Green Bay Packers offensive lineman Bryan Bulaga dives for an Aaron Rodgers' fumble in the fourth quarter at Lambeau Field.

GREEN BAY - He didn’t know which Dallas Cowboys player hit him, but Green Bay Packers right tackle Bryan Bulaga felt a “knee or helmet” smack into his back on the final play of the third quarter Sunday.

Bulaga dove on top of quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ fumble inside the Cowboys’ 5-yard line, and a scrum followed. Bulaga tried to continue playing through back pain, but was unable to finish the game.

He wouldn’t make any predictions for Thursday night’s game against the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field. Bulaga was listed on the team’s injury report with a back injury Monday. Coach Mike McCarthy said he’d be surprised if Bulaga was unavailable.

“I know Bryan and his history,” McCarthy said, “I would think he’s going to play. I don’t think there’s — I mean, it’s going to take a big, big injury to keep him out of a football game.”

It isn’t an ideal week to be injured. The Packers will have just three days between their loss to the Cowboys and hosting the Bears. Bulaga said he never has dealt with a back injury, so this week of preparation will be uncharted territory.

Regardless, Bulaga said his back is “progressing” since Sunday.

“I think that’s the best way to put it,” Bulaga said. “It definitely feels better than it did yesterday, I’ll put it that way. Hopefully, tomorrow it’ll progress or feel better.”

If Bulaga is unable to play, the Packers will call on rookie Jason Spriggs. The second-round tackle played a career-high 18 snaps Sunday, most coming in the fourth quarter after Bulaga’s injury.

McCarthy said he was impressed with his rookie.

“I thought Jason did a lot of good things,” McCarthy said. “I thought he had a couple good plays in the OT package, particularly on the shot down the field, when he played the tight end position. So I thought he did a good job.” and follow him on Twitter @ByRyanWood

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