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Packers place LB Krys Barnes on IR ahead of Bears game


Krys Barnes was placed on the injured list on Tuesday, September 13 after sustaining a serious ankle injury in Week 1.

The Green Bay Packers midfielder just weakened a bit for at least the next month of the 2022 season.

Packers General Manager Brian Gutekunst placed third-year inside linebacker Krys Barnes on injured reserve after the former starter injured his ankle in the Week 1 opener against the Minnesota Vikings. He also signed undrafted rookie offensive tackle Caleb Jones from the practice squad to take Barnes’ place on the 53-man roster as they begin to prepare for their home opener against Chicago.

Barnes was hauled off the field in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 23-7 loss to the Vikings with an air blast around his right leg that immediately raised concerns for the rest of his season. While initial testing confirmed Barnes avoided a season-ending injury, his stint on injured reserve means he’ll have to miss at least four games before he’s eligible to return to the Packers’ active roster.

Barnes has started 23 games over the past two seasons for the Packers and was the top linebacker on their roster as an undrafted rookie in 2020, but he’s slipped to No. 3 on the depth chart this season due to the re-signing 2021 All-Pro De’Vondre Campbell and drafting first-rounder Quay Walker. Still, the 24-year-old has given them quality depth to the position as well as a hard-hitting asset for special teams.

The Packers can review Barnes’ injury status after their Week 5 game against the New York Giants and will have the option to designate him for a return to training and open a 21-day window to reactivate him in the active list – or else leave him on the injured list for the rest of the season.

Packers “Hopeful” Quay Walker to play Bears

Barnes wasn’t the only linebacker to come out of Sunday’s loss with an injury. Walker – the No. 2 inside linebacker next to Campbell – was ruled out earlier in the second half with a shoulder injury and will be a name to watch in practice this week as the Packers progress to the Week 2 game with the Bears.

“We’ll give Quay the week, but hopefully he’ll be back and ready to roll,” Packers head coach Matt LaFleur said Monday, Sept. 12.

Walker was flying around the field and delivering hard hits in his NFL debut against the Vikings, recording eight total tackles and looking like an ideal running mate for Campbell in the middle of their defense. There are places Walker could still improve — like in pass coverage, where he allowed five completions on five targets for 46 yards — but it was a promising start for the Packers’ top draft pick in 2022.

If Walker can bounce back without running out of time, the Packers will have an easier time getting by without Barnes. They’ll have to account for his special teams contributions one way or another, but Barnes only played nine defensive snaps in Week 1, and most of them came after replacing Walker. following his shoulder injury.

Another move could be necessary, however, if Walker isn’t ready for Sunday night.

Will the Packers clear a spot for another inside linebacker?

The Packers are now down to just three inside linebackers on their active roster following Barnes’ move to injured reserve and look likely to add another to their roster in the coming days to avoid spreading the position too thin, especially with them waiting -mode see with Walker’s shoulder. The Packers could promote Ray Wilborn from their practice squad — either with a signing or a game-day raise — to alleviate some of the problem, but they could also go deeper if things get murkier for Walker.

One important thing to watch leading up to Friday’s final practice for Week 2 will be which players the Packers will host for roster practices, if any. They didn’t have any on the official NFL trade wire for Tuesday, but they could still bring a number of names for practices over the next three days. In all likelihood, they’ll be looking for a special teammate more than anything. Still, the depth will be in Campbell and 2021 sixth-rounder Isaiah McDuffie if Walker doesn’t adapt to the Bears.