Just two days after his return to the starting lineup, the Green Bay Packers learned that they would be without 'power' defensive end Vonnie Holliday for 2-5 weeks due to a meniscus tear in his right knee.
Holliday suffered the injury Monday night against the Miami Dolphins in what was his first game action in six weeks. He missed the previous four games due to a torn pectoral muscle, from which he is still healing.
The knee injury is believed to have occurred on the first play of the third quarter, however Holliday continued to play in the second half and expressed no pain to the medical staff after the game. The following morning however, Holliday awoke to swelling in the knee.
He underwent an MRI later Tuesday, which located the tear. Wednesday afternoon, he agreed to the knee scope.
"Initially he wanted to play through it," Packers GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman said Wednesday evening. "But in talking to the doctors, it just felt like it would be a debilitating injury for him, and our best choice and his best choice is to have surgery tomorrow . . .
"It's disappointing, but he's not discouraged. He told me he'd be back as soon as possible."
Likely to replace Holliday in the meantime will be rookie Aaron Kampman, who started the four games Holliday missed due to the pectoral injury.
"It's hard to deal with the loss of a player like Vonnie, but we have experienced some games without him obviously and have been okay," Sherman said. "The emergence of Aaron Kampman certainly has helped us deal with this."
The Packers also re-signed defensive lineman Jared Tomich, who was among the final training camp cuts.
"When we had to release him in the preseason, I thought he was playing very well," Sherman said of Tomich. "I thought we'd be able to trade him and get something for him, but it didn't work out that way. I hated to release him because I thought he was such a good player."
Until this year, Holliday had remained relatively injury-free. Over his previous four seasons, Holliday played in at least 12 regular season games, including two 16-game seasons.
In other injury news, defensive tackle Cletidus Hunt is the only player listed as 'questionable' on the Packers' injury report. Hunt left the Dolphins game with pain in his knee.
Sherman said Hunt has been fitted for a brace and could play against the Lions if the swelling reduces.
Flanagan Back To Center
Packers offensive tackle Chad Clifton has been removed from the team's injury report for the first time since spraining his medial collateral ligament (MCL) against the New England Patriots, October 13. That means emergency backup tackle Mike Flanagan is available to return to his natural position of center.
Flanagan reclaims his starting role from 16-year veteran Frank Winters, who has been an invaluable component of an offensive line bombarded by injuries.
"You could say one of my best offseason signings was Frank Winters," Packers GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman said Wednesday. "If we didn't have Frank Winters here and performing to the level he's performed, I don't even know where we'd be right now."
Winters has played in all eight games this season, starting five. Three of those starts came as a result of a broken thumb suffered by Flanagan during training camp. The last two starts came after a healthy Flanagan was shifted to tackle in place of Clifton.
"I'm just so excited with the leadership he's given us and his toughness," Sherman said of Winters. "He has given me a tremendous confidence level."
Sherman said Flanagan's comparative youth gives the team another dimension at center.
"(Flanagan) is just more athletic," he said. "He's quicker. There aren't many -- if any -- centers that can go out and play left tackle against (Miami Pro Bowl defensive end) Jason Taylor in the National Football League."
Den Of Injuries
When Detroit Lions head coach Marty Mornhinweg said Wednesday that his team was beat up, he wasn't kidding.
The Lions placed an astonishing 27 players on their weekly injury report. Few of them seem to be seriously injured however, as none are labeled 'out' and only three are considered 'doubtful' (only a 25-percent chance of playing).
Eighteen players are listed as 'questionable,' meaning a 50-percent chance of participation. Six players are considered 'probable' (75-percent chance of participation).
Among the probables is former Packers receiver Bill Schroeder, who has a leg injury. Schroeder missed the first Packers-Lions meeting of the season with a hamstring pull.