Raji out for season with torn biceps
The Green Bay Packers' worst fears have been realized.
Packers defensive lineman B.J. Raji will be lost for the entire 2014 season because of a torn right biceps injury sustained in the first quarter of Friday night's 31-21 win over Oakland, a league source confirmed to Press-Gazette Media.
ESPN and NFL Network first reported the injury's season-ending severity. Packers coach Mike McCarthy said after the game Raji was "pretty confident" about the initial diagnosis for the arm injury, but tests Saturday indicated more significant damage than first thought.
Raji played only seven snaps against the Raiders before exiting. He stayed on the sideline for the rest of the game with a sleeve over his right arm. Afterward, he was seen in the locker room with a bag of ice on his right biceps.
A partial tear wouldn't have required surgery, but likely would have resulted in a three-to-six week hiatus. Surgery to repair a rupture usually calls for a four-to-six month rehab.
The loss of Raji is a significant blow to the Packers' remade defensive line. Coming off a disappointing 2013 season, Raji agreed to a one-year, $4 million deal in March with the understanding he'd move from defensive end to nose tackle, the position he played during his most productive season in 2010.
Raji was off to a good start. He looked motivated and more explosive than last season when he had 17 tackles in 16 games and went without a sack for the second consecutive season.
Second-year defensive lineman Josh Boyd likely will get the first shot at replacing Raji. The 2013 fifth-round pick stepped in at nose tackle with the first-team defense after his departure. Undrafted rookie Mike Pennel, who's been making a strong argument for a roster spot, also received extensive work inside.
The Packers signed former Minnesota defensive lineman Letroy Guion to a one-year deal in March to spell Raji, but he's missed all of training camp with a torn hamstring and could be headed to the physically unable to perform list.
The Packers could also reach out to free agents Ryan Pickett and Johnny Jolly, though it appears their defensive line already has gone in a different direction.