Although nothing has been set in stone, GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman conceded Wednesday that Chad Clifton is likely out for the season as a result of injuries sustained Sunday night against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
"He's still being evaluated by our (medical) staff," Sherman said of Clifton. "At this present time it doesn't look like he'll be back for this season and we'll just have to wait to see from that standpoint."
Clifton suffered separated ligaments in his pelvis when he was hit by Buccaneers' defensive tackle Warren Sapp during Brian Kelly's third-quarter interception return.
Experiencing some numbness in his legs and fingers, he was carted off the field and spent Sunday and Monday in a Tampa hospital. Tuesday he was flown back to Wisconsin and admitted to a Green Bay hospital.
Still unable to walk, Clifton is expected to remain in the hospital through the end of the weekend, if not longer.
Fortunately, Clifton doesn't seem to have sustained any damage to his spinal column, although Sherman stopped short of ruling it out.
"The numbness that he had may have been the result of spasms or possible (slipped) discs," Sherman said. "I have not been privy to that information at this time ...
"The major focus is just to get him so he's not in such pain and try to get that to settle down."
The Packers will replace Clifton at left tackle with Mike Flanagan, while using 16-year NFL veteran Frank Winters at center.
Flanagan has two previous starts at left tackle this season. Although 30 pounds lighter than Clifton, Sherman said Flanagan possesses the tools to fill the role.
"He's just one heck of an athlete," he said. "He'll get himself ready to play and he'll do a fantastic job."
Rookie tackle Kevin Barry will be the backup left tackle, with seven-year veteran Barrett Brooks preparing behind Earl Dotson at right tackle. Second-year lineman Bill Ferrario will be counted on for depth at center and both guard positions.
Clifton's injury is just the latest in a long list of ailments experienced by the Packers' offensive line this season. Right tackle Mark Tauscher was placed on injured reserve after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the second game of the season.
Marco Rivera has played on torn medial collateral ligaments (MCLs) in both knees. Earlier this season, Clifton missed one game with an MCL injury of his own.