Packers tackle Bryan Bulaga hoping to play despite high ankle sprain
GREEN BAY - It took a month before Green Bay Packers right tackle Bryan Bulaga was certain he had a high ankle sprain and would need longer to recover than first thought.
Bulaga was back at practice Wednesday after 10 days of rehab that he’s hoping provide the final step in him returning to the starting lineup permanently. It took him aggravating the injury against Cincinnati for the injury to be confirmed as the dreaded “high ankle”.
“Ankle’s feeling better, I feel like some soreness I had after the Cincinnati game has subsided,” he said. “Still got some issues I’m working through but overall, it’s doing all right.”
Bulaga was one of seven players who were held out of or knocked out of the Chicago Bears game Thursday night and returned to the practice field Wednesday.
Among those were Bulaga’s linemate, left tackle David Bakhtiari (hamstring), receiver Davante Adams (concussion), defensive tackle Mike Daniels (hip), running back Ty Montgomery (broken ribs) and cornerback Davon House (thigh), all of whom were limited participants in a non-padded practice.
Rookie running back Jamaal Williams (knee) returned as a full participant.
Bulaga’s injury has been one of the hardest to deal with because diagnosing a high ankle sprain can be tricky. The affected ligaments in a high ankle sprain and a normal ankle sprain are different and sometimes the only way to know which is affected is by seeing how long recovery takes.
Often, Bulaga said he was told, scans don’t produce an accurate diagnosis.
“Unless it’s clear as day and mine wasn’t that way,” Bulaga said. “It’s just different. That’s the way it’s played out, unfortunately. That’s why taping it up and rubbing dirt on it wasn't an option. I wish it was. I really do.”
It’s also why Bulaga lasted only three quarters against Cincinnati. The injury was still there and it took only an awkward step for him to aggravate it and force him from the game.
With the Packers playing four days later, a decision was made to hold him out of the Bears game and let the ankle heal some more. Bulaga said he’s hoping he’s on the back end of the injury now and can make it through the entire Dallas game Sunday.
“It’s gotten better and I just have to take it day by day,” Bulaga said. “If I can’t move and do my job, then I’m doing a disservice to the guy I’m next to, Aaron (Rodgers) and to and the rest of the team.”
Bakhtiari’s return to practice could be a sign he’ll be back for the Dallas game, but both offensive linemen must get through a padded practice Thursday and a less rigorous practice Saturday before getting cleared to return.
Bakhtiari was not available for comment.
House practiced for the first time since leaving the Atlanta game in Week 2, but made no guarantees that he would be available for the Cowboys. The Packers would feel a lot better if both he and rookie Kevin King were in the lineup to help defend Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant.
“I would say I’ve gotten a lot better, for sure,” House said. “Good enough to go out there and be limited today, which was really good.”
Daniels went through individual drills with the rest of the defensive linemen, but it’s not known whether he took any snaps in the team drills. He has not played since aggravating a hip injury against the Falcons.
Montgomery returned to practice and it was obvious he was wearing some padding over his ribs. His status may rest on how well the padding works and whether he can withstand the pain he’ll likely endure when he gets tackled.
The only player who did not practice for the Packers was inside linebacker Joe Thomas, who injured his left ankle in the Bears game.