Gado's out for the Season - Knee Injury
Packers notes: Gado's season over after knee injury
TUE., DEC 20, 2005 - 1:31 AM
JASON WILDE 608-252-6176
BALTIMORE - The Green Bay Packers' season-long curse on running backs continued Monday night when the team lost Samkon Gado to a torn MCL in his right knee late in the first quarter of their 48-3 loss to the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium.
Gado, the undrafted rookie free agent who had become the feel-good story of the Packers' otherwise-depressing season by rushing for 100 yards or more in three games, went down with 1 minute, 23 seconds left in the first quarter after a 2-yard run. He had gained 45 yards on six carries when he went out.
"I thought I'd be fine with a one- or two-play break," Gado said. "It's frustrating, but in a month, I should be 100 percent."
Gado's injury was the latest in a remarkable string of halfback mishaps, including Ahman Green's ruptured quadriceps tendon, Najeh Davenport's broken right ankle, Tony Fisher's fractured rib and Walt Williams' torn hamstring.
Fisher was able to come back after missing two games, while Green, Davenport and Williams were all placed on season-ending injured reserve after their injuries. Another halfback, ReShard Lee, suffered a rib injury and was placed on injured reserve before being waived earlier this month, and undrafted rookie Chaz Williams also is on injured reserve after suffering a broken ankle in training camp.
"We can't seem to keep a healthy running back," Gado said.
With Gado out, Fisher took most of the snaps at halfback, though Noah Herron became the sixth halfback to carry the ball in a game this season when he gained 6 yards on a second-quarter pitch.â€¢
More from the infirmary Gado's injury was the first of many for the Packers, who also lost nickel cornerback Mike Hawkins (right knee), linebacker Paris Lenon (left hand), right guard Will Whitticker (concussion), cornerback Ahmad Carroll (head), defensive end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila (hip), left guard Scott Wells (kneecap) and wide receiver Robert Ferguson (left knee) during the game.
Carroll and Gbaja-Biamila were the only ones who were able to return.
Hawkins was injured early in the second quarter and was replaced by Jerron Wishom in the nickel and dime units. When Carroll went out late in the third quarter, the Packers were forced to use Wishom, a former practice-squad player, in the base defense.
Lenon, who already was playing with a broken right index finger, went out late in the first half and was replaced by veteran Na'il Diggs. Lenon said X-rays showed his hand wasn't broken.
Whitticker, who regained his starting job last week after being benched for the Packers' Dec. 4 loss at Chicago, was replaced by veteran Grey Ruegamer. Wells said he ruptured his bursa sac but did not suffer any ligament damage. He was replaced by Adrian Klemm, whose starting job he assumed Nov. 13 at Atlanta, with 13:25 left in the game.
Tight end Bubba Franks missed his second straight game because of a neck/back injury, so David Martin started in his place.
Will linebacker Robert Thomas missed his fourth game in five weeks with a strained quadriceps, forcing the Packers to start Lenon at sam, Nick Barnett in the middle and rookie Roy Manning at will. When Lenon went out, Diggs took over at sam. â€¢
Not so special For the second consecutive week, the Packers' special-teams coverage units gave up a big play.
After the Green Bay offense went three-and-out on their opening possession, Ravens returner B.J. Sams took punter B.J. Sander's punt back 45 yards, eluding Hawkins just after catching the ball, then Marviel Underwood before breaking into the open.
The Ravens took advantage, scoring on a 2-yard touchdown catch by Todd Heap five plays later. Last week against Detroit, the Packers' kickoff coverage unit allowed a 73-yard return by R.W. McQuarters. â€¢
Eligible bachelor To combat the Ravens' run-stuffing 4-4 and 5-3 defensive alignments - four linemen and four linebackers or five linemen and three linebackers - the Packers used their U-71 package with extra tackle Kevin Barry extensively.
The package was effective early, as Gado broke a 26-yard run out of it on the Packers' second possession, but as the Ravens built a huge lead, the Packers were forced to pass. â€¢
Extra points Among the luminaries in the press box Monday night were former Packers general manager Ron Wolf and his wife, Edie, and Rev. Jerry Falwell, who was there to watch Gado, a Liberty University alum. Falwell is the founder and chancellor of Liberty, which is in Lynchburg, Va., about 4 hours from Baltimore. ... Gado's mother, Grace, also was at the game, and Falwell introduced her to Packers team president Bob Harlan in the press box midway through the third quarter. ... Linebacker John Leake, picked up on waivers from Atlanta last week, was active and played on special teams, picking up an illegal-block penalty in his debut.