"The best laid schemes of mice and men
Go often awry,
And leave us nothing but grief and pain,
For promised joy!" - Robert Burns, To a Mouse
As first reported by Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, it appears that starting left tackle Bryan Bulaga tore his ACL during Saturday's Family Night scrimmage. Bulaga, who didn't miss a single snap during the scrimmage, complained of knee pain afterwards to the Packers' medical staff.
The team has yet to confirm the reports, but Tom Silverstein reports that Bulaga is already seeking out a second opinion on the injury. With the team resuming practice tomorrow after taking Sunday off, we will likely have our answer soon.
As for what a Bulaga ACL tear means for the offense, it completely undoes the work of the line shift head coach Mike McCarthy installed this offseason. Marshall Newhouse, the Packers' starting left tackle the past two seasons, may flip back from the right side to cover Bulaga's absence. However, Newhouse has practiced strictly on the right side this offseason, making a return to left tackle more difficult.
Rookie David Bakhtiari has practiced as the team's primary backup to Bulaga, and while he performed very well at the Family Night scrimmage, asking him to step in right away as Aaron Rodgers' blindside protector is almost certainly asking too much.
If there's a silver lining to Bulaga's injury, it's that the Packers have the entire preseason to find a replacement. Last season, Bulaga injured his hip mid-year and forced the Packers to adjust on the fly, taking several weeks before finally settling on Don Barclay. But make no mistake, losing Bulaga for the entire 2013 season throws a monkey wrench in the Packers' championship aspirations.
UPDATE: The Packers have confirmed that Bulaga has indeed torn his ACL. Bob McGinn reports that David Bakhtiari will enter the starting lineup, though it is unknown whether this will be at right or left tackle.
Jason Hirschhorn covers the Green Bay Packers for Acme Packing Co. He has previously written for Lombardi Ave, College Hoops Net, LiveBall Sports, and the List Universe. He is also currently a senior writer for Beats Per Minute, an indie-music webzine. Follow him on Twitter: @JBHirschhorn