Reporting that Mark Tauscher's injured left knee is as bad as first expected, Packers GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman said Monday that the offensive tackle could be sidelined up to eight weeks.
Tauscher sustained the injury in the second quarter of the New Orleans game when a Saints player fell into his knee at the end of a play. Sherman said Tauscher has at least a sprained medial collateral ligament, if not also a torn meniscus.
Ten-year veteran Earl Dotson will replace Tauscher in the starting lineup at tackle, but the Packers also take a hit at guard, where Tauscher's versatility made him a reliable backup.
"Tausch has a zillion reps in his body since he's been here in regard to playing right tackle and also right guard, so we lose a backup player inside if we ever needed that," Sherman said. "That's pretty critical in itself . . . That being said, Earl Dotson has played right tackle for quite a long time, and he'll do a fine job for us."
Tauscher's injury is just the second to befall a member of the Packers' starting front five, with center Mike Flanagan still healing from a broken thumb sustained during training camp, August 2. Dotson has had injury troubles of his own in recent years and got only a limited number of preseason reps due to knee and back problems.
If Dotson were to go down, next in line would be rookie Kevin Barry.
Sherman said he liked what he saw out of Dotson in the second half of the Saints game, but admitted that the 31-year-old's injury history is a concern.
"He came out of this game pretty (healthy) and that's all I can judge him by," Sherman said. "I'm sure that we'll have to be careful with what we ask him to do in practice and make sure he gets his rehab, but we're fortunate that we have Earl, we have Kevin Barry.
"We feel pretty good about our tackles. I think we're covered there. Obviously losing Tausch, it jars us a little bit, but certainly we'll continue to go to work every day and do our jobs."
Ahman Green's status for the upcoming game at Detroit is uncertain.
Green, who battled an illness last week, has what Sherman described as a strained quadriceps tendon and "turf knee."
Sherman said Monday that he did not anticipate Green to practice this week, but did not rule out the possibility that the halfback could go against the Lions.
Other injured Packers include Antuan Edwards (shoulder), Bhawoh Jue (sprained ankle), Billy Lyon (knee) and Darren Sharper (ankle/shin).
Sherman also noted that nose tackle Gilbert Brown, who suffered a knee injury versus Atlanta and was inactive for the New Orleans game, could possibly return this week.