McCarthy: Walden Expected to Start, Sitton out, Bishop and Hawk Unknown

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Green Bay Packers LB Erik Walden practiced on Wednesday and appears on track to play on Sunday against the New York Giants. Walden was arrested Friday on suspicion of domestic abuse.

“I have every anticipation for Erik to start,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said.

McCarthy also said RG Josh Sitton will sit out Sunday’s game with a knee injury. Linebackers A.J. Hawk and Desmond Bishop did not practice and will be evaluated on Friday.

Evan Dietrich-Smith took the first-team snaps at RG in place of Sitton.

McCarthy previously targeted the Giants game for LT Chad Clifton’s return. However, Clifton is now dealing with a back injury in addition to his hamstring and will not play Sunday.

What it Means
The Walden situation is not as black and white as it originally appeared, so the decision to let him play is no surprise.

Losing Sitton stinks. Hopefully it’s only for a game or two. That’s two pro-bowl caliber players from the offensive line on the sideline. Sitton wasn’t having  a standout season, so hopefully this time off gets him healthy and he returns to his old self.

If Hawk doesn’t play Sunday, I’m confident that D.J. Smith will hold up. If Bishop is also out, the Packers already suspect tackling could become even worse.

McCarthy also had several good things to say about Marshall Newhouse during Wednesday’s news conference. The Packers should take their time with Clifton. The way Newhouse is playing, there’s no need to rush Clifton back and risk another injury.

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Adam Czech is a a freelance sports reporter living in the Twin Cities and a proud supporter of American corn farmers. When not working, Adam is usually writing about, thinking about or worrying about the Packers. Follow Adam on Twitter. Twitter .

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  • Mojo

    According to Wilde, Sitton probably has an MCL injury(possibly a stage 2 type injury). The last time he had such an injury he missed three games. So I’m guessing he comes back against the Bears. EDS number one job; protect #12.

    As long as Hawk gives up his miked-up helmet, I see D.J. Smith as an improvement. Losing Bishop for an extended time will really hurt.

    Maybe Newhouse turned a corner by preventing Vanden Bosch from getting around the corner. Replacing Newhouse with a healthy Cliffy isn’t as cut-and-dried as it first seemed.

  • Bearmeat

    Walden has steadily been improving this year. He’s a good starter now, and could develop into a great one with more game experience and coaching.

    If he doesn’t get charged, there’s absolutely no reason to sit him. Keep him playing and see what you’ve got.

  • Savage57

    It will be incumbent on Mssr’s. Zombo, Jones, So’Oto and Latimore to rise to the challenge. Interesting to see which one of them fully embraces the role of “next man up”.

  • Dan

    I’d like to see Bishop and D.J.Smith play a few games together before the playoffs. Unfortunately, it sounds like Bishops injury is worse then Hawks.

  • Ron LC

    With the revalation that Clifton now has a back problem which is pushing his return back further, it is time for MM to sit down with the Drs and get an answer to this question. Will you gaurentee his return by the playoffs? If they don’t, MM has to replace him with as good an Olineman as he can find ASAP.

    • CSS

      Unfortunately, by week 12 of the season there aren’t even ‘street’ guys out there that can make a contribution at tackle. The ones that existed were gone by week 8. At this point, their better off simply leaving Clifton on the roster and forcing Sherrod into service if necessary.

      So few competent LT’s in the league.

      • Ron LC

        Yep, that’s why I qualified my statement with “best Olineman as possible”.

        • CSS

          You would likely see Campbell elevated from the practice squad before TT reached for anybody. They trust guys that know the system more than anything.