Packers Rule Defensive Starter ‘Questionable’ vs. Seahawks

Kenny Clark Injury Status Divisional Playoff

Getty Kenny Clark #97 of the Green Bay Packers reacts in the third quarter during the NFC Wild Card game against the New York Giants at Lambeau Field on January 8, 2017 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

The Green Bay Packers are still unsure if they will have their defensive line at full strength for Sunday night’s opening playoff game as one of their starters continues to battle an injury.

The Packers (13-3) officially listed starting nose tackle Kenny Clark as questionable for Sunday’s 5:40 p.m. CT kickoff against the Seattle Seahawks (11-5) in the NFC divisional-round matchup at Lambeau Field. He has been dealing with a back injury that landed him on the team’s injury report earlier in the week and held him out of Wednesday’s practice. He returned to action Thursday but was limited in sessions for the remainder of the week.

Clark has been exceptional for the Packers with 62 tackles, a forced fumble and six sacks to his name this season. He recorded at least one sack in three straight wins down the stretch against Washington, Chicago and Minnesota and seems likely to earn a contract extension at some point in the near future for his high-level of play.

The Packers also ruled rookie running back Dexter Williams, fullback Danny Vitale and defensive end Tyler Lancaster — who started 10 games during the regular season — questionable to play on Sunday night as all three continue to battle an illness that head coach Matt LaFleur said this week has been going around the Packers’ locker room.

It could be worse, as Seattle would likely attest. The Seahawks have six players uncertain to play with injuries, three of which impact their offensive line. Starting left guard Mike Iupati is doubtful with a neck injury while starting left tackle George Fant and backup Duane Brown are also questionable. All three of them were sidelined in the first two practices this week.

While missing Clark would soften their defensive line, the Packers could also face a golden opportunity against a depleted Seahawks protection crew with Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith finishing the regular season among the best pass-rushing tandems and tallying 25.5 sacks between them.

Should Clark not play, Montravius Adams would be in line to start in his place at nose tackle, which would mark his first real opportunity since starting in the first two games of the year. He finished the regular season with 11 tackles but hasn’t notched one since Week 13’s win over the New York Giants.

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Bryan Bulaga Good to Go Against Seahawks

While things were looking good early in the week, the Packers confirmed starting right tackle Bryan Bulaga will be ready to roll Sunday night against the Seahawks.

The veteran offensive lineman was knocked out of Week 17’s win over the Detroit Lions that clinched the Packers a first-round bye in the playoffs. As it turned out, they would need the extra time to heal with Bulaga going into concussion protocol and only just being cleared earlier this week. He was a full participant in all three practices this week.

Bulaga played in all 16 regular-season games for only the third time in his nine-year career, making every start for the first time since 2016 and maintaining a sturdy presence on one of the finest pass-blocking units in the NFL — one that features All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari as well as All-Rookie contender Elgton Jenkins on the interior.

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