Bad news struck Thursday night for the Green Bay Packers before kickoff when concerns about field conditions prompted the team to sit its starters as a precaution against the Oakland Raiders in Winnipeg.
That precaution, however, did not extend to top draft pick Rashan Gary, a decision that the Packers might come to regret after the former Michigan edge rusher was carted off the field during the first half with an unspecified injury.
Gary has been playing extended preseason reps as the Packers have worked toward developing him in a new position — outside linebacker — after he played primarily defensive end in his college seasons for the Wolverines.
Last Saturday, defensive coordinator Mike Pettine said the Packers expected the No. 12 overall pick in the NFL draft to be a “work in progress” but that he was “without a doubt” pleased with his progress thus far in the season — even as his numbers in the first two exhibitions games did little to generate much buzz.
While the Packers acquired quality edge-rushing options in the offseason — talents such as Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith — Gary figured to be a crucial piece in the defensive plan this season along with projected 53-manners Reggie Gilbert and Kyler Fackrell.
Gary wasn’t the only injury the Packers sustained in the first half Thursday night, either, as wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown — vying for a roster spot in a contested receiver field — was carried off the field with an apparent leg or knee injury after a vicious hit.
Gary’s camp tweeted out during the Packers’ eventual 22-21 loss to the Raiders that said the first-rounder “is fine and doing well.” The Packers, though, have yet to comment on his injury.
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