Already playing without their top two running backs, the Green Bay Packers have now lost Samkon Gado for the year with a knee injury.
Gado tore the medial collateral ligament in his right knee, and Head Coach Mike Sherman said he will miss three to six weeks. The good news, however, is that Gado's injury does not require surgery to heal.
"It's just rest and rehab for him," Sherman said.
Sherman did not announce a starter to replace Gado but said both rookie Noah Herron and four-year veteran Tony Fisher will receive action.
"As of right now, Herron and Fisher will hold down the fort," Sherman said.
Herron, signed off the Pittsburgh Steelers' practice squad on Nov. 30, received his first NFL carry against the Baltimore Ravens, running eight times for 27 yards. Fisher, who started against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 7, rushed four times for 27 yards on Monday.
Gado's injury abruptly ended his storybook season. Released from the Kansas City Chiefs' practice squad after the first month of the season, the undrafted rookie free agent ascended the depth chart, rising from Packers practice squader to starting running back in less than four weeks. Along the way, he surpassed 100 rushing yards three times, including a Packers' rookie record of 171 yards in Week 14. Gado leads all rookie runners in touchdowns with six.
Gado injured his knee with 1:48 left in the first quarter of Monday's game. He went down in a pile as Aubrayo Franklin and Kelly Gregg tackled him. Gado finished Monday's game with six rushes for 45 yards and the season with 143 rushes for 582 yards.
Injuries have struck the Packers hard all season but especially at running back. Najeh Davenport (ankle) and Ahman Green (quadriceps tendon) are on injured reserve. Backup running backs ReShard Lee, Chaz Williams, Chris Robertson and Walt Williams suffered serious injuries as well. Without rhyme or reason, the Packers have lost their ballcarriers to injury at an alarming rate.
"It's kind of eerie," Sherman said.
The Rookie And The Veteran
With the Packers trailing the Ravens 34-3, Sherman replaced Brett Favre with Aaron Rodgers at the end of third quarter.
The consummate professional, Favre had no problem with the move, which gave the Packers a chance to evaluate Rodgers during his most extended action of the regular season.
"He understood it," Sherman said. "We got a chance to look at the young quarterback."
Sherman clearly indicated that Favre will remain the starter, but he has not declared if Rodgers will continue to receive snaps if the Packers go way up or fall way behind in a game.
"(We) take each situation as it comes up," Sherman said.
Rodgers completed eight-of-15 passes for 65 yards and an interception on Monday.