Evan Dietrich-Smith injury: Packers OL takes another hit with C's sprained ankle

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Green Bay's already-struggling offensive line could be without its starting center against the Falcons.

As if things haven't been bad enough for the Green Bay Packers offensive line, a sprained ankle has put the availability of starting center Evan Dietrich-Smith for this Sunday's game against the Atlanta Falcons into question, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Tom Silverstein and Tyler Dunne.

Dietrich-Smith suffered the injury during practice on Wednesday, saying he stepped on a teammate's ankle.

"(Expletive) happens," the notably frustrated and sarcastic lineman vented to reporters. "It's fun, huh? I love this sport. Good thing you get paid money."

He had just recovered from a knee sprain that knocked him out of the Detroit Lions game last Thursday.

"Good times, right? Just keep piling them on," Dietrich-Smith said to Silverstein and Dunne. "The most frustrating part is just doing anything. You're getting back to where you're feeling close to 100 [percent]. It's one thing after the other. But you can't let it get you down. Football is football, you're going to get hurt."

Losing their starting center would be a blow to a struggling Packers line, which looked awful during an ugly 40-10 loss in Detroit. With Dietrich-Smith watching from the sideline, the Lions defensive front went through, around and over the line to sack Matt Flynn seven times. For comparison, Aaron Rodgers was sacked just 18 times in eight games before fracturing his collarbone against Chicago in Week 9.

Dietrich-Smith's absence against Atlanta would trigger a hectic reshuffling along the offensive line. Against the Lions, right guard T.J. Lang slid over to center while Marshall Newhouse filled in at right guard. During the ensuing collapse, Newhouse was benched in favor of rookie Lane Taylor. Coach Mike McCarthy will likely use Newhouse as an alternate considering how poorly the alignment worked last week.

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