Injuries frustrated Packers' offensive line

Ryan Wood
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If it were the regular season, Josh Sitton has no doubts he could play through an ankle injury that forced him to miss more than a week of training camp.
He said his absence from practice and preseason games — which ended Tuesday — was merely a cautious approach from a Green Bay Packers medical staff that doesn't want to push veterans too hard in August.

Still, a Packers offensive line that was consistently healthy last season has been hit by training camp injuries as hard as any position on the team. At one point during Saturday night's preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles, the Packers were without four starters up front.

Sitton, left tackle David Bakhtiari (knee) and right tackle Bryan Bulaga (ankle) returned to practice Tuesday. Right guard T.J. Lang is still absent as he goes through the NFL's concussion protocol.

"It's frustrating," Sitton said. "I talk with Dave a lot about that. We want to get our reps together. So, yeah, it is a little bit frustrating, but hopefully (the injuries) happen now, and not during the season. Hopefully we're getting it out of the way."

Injuries to key offensive linemen have been so rampant, it forced the Packers to deviate from their usual preseason schedule.

With Sitton, Bakhtiari and Lang unable to start Saturday, coach Mike McCarthy chose to sit quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Bulaga later left in the first half with a sprained ankle.

Last season, with the same five starters almost every week, the Packers' offensive line developed into one of the league's better units. Offensive line coach James Campen said he doesn't expect the lack of continuity in training camp to be a major issue when this season begins. Starting with Week 1, Campen said, the offensive line will be ready.

"I expect them to pick up where they left off — and to be better," Campen said. "They've had a whole offseason together. You can't replace the fact that they were all here through the whole offseason program. You're talking about IPWs, OTAs, all the summer camp. That work will carry over."

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