Banged-up Packers lose LB Smith, RB Saine for season

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

Green Bay Packers inside linebacker D.J. Smith will miss the rest of the season due to a right knee injury, coach Mike McCarthy announced Monday.
Smith suffered what has been speculated to be a torn anterior cruciate ligament on a hard hit by Houston Texans left tackle Duane Brown on the back side of a run play in the second quarter Sunday.
Smith, a second-year player, was the starting replacement for Desmond Bishop since the beginning of the season. Bishop, after leading the team with a career-high 142 tackles and adding five sacks last season, sustained a torn hamstring early in the preseason and went on injured reserve.
Now, Capers likely will turn to fourth-year Brad Jones, a former starter at outside linebacker, or third-year Robert Francois to take over the starting job beside A.J. Hawk.
Capers wouldn't commit to a replacement less than 24 hours after Smith's devastating injury. Jones filled in for Smith on Sunday.
"We like what Brad brings to the table," Capers said. "Rob Francois played for us last year, so he has experience of playing inside. And, (second-year player) Jamari Lattimore is another athletic guy. These guys will all factor into the picture now even more with D.J. being hurt."
The Packers also lost backup running back Brandon Saine to a season-ending right knee injury, which he sustained covering a kickoff in the third quarter Sunday.
Saine is the second of the four halfbacks Green Bay had on the roster at the start of the season to be felled by a significant injury in the last two games.
Veteran starter Cedric Benson suffered a Lisfranc foot injury in the Packers' stunning loss at Indianapolis on Oct. 7 and was placed on the new injured reserve/designated to return list. Benson won't be eligible to play again this season until early December.
Green Bay placed Saine on the season-ending IR list Monday and claimed second-year back Johnny White off waivers from the Buffalo Bills.
Besides Benson, the Packers played Sunday without the Pro Bowl duo of receiver Greg Jennings (groin) and nose tackle B.J. Raji (ankle).
They later lost three defensive starters -- Smith, rookie outside linebacker Nick Perry (knee) and cornerback Sam Shields (shin) -- to injuries but still ran away to a comfortable win over the Texans on the strength of a career-high six touchdown passes from Aaron Rodgers.
McCarthy said the team would know more about the condition of Perry and Shields later in the week as Green Bay prepares to finish its three-game road swing with a game against the St. Louis Rams on Sunday.
"It hurts, but who's going to feel sorry for us?" veteran safety Charles Woodson said about the rash of injuries. "We've still got games to play, and nobody's going to care who we've got in the lineup. They're going to be trying to beat the Green Bay Packers."

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