An already beleaguered Green Bay Packers defense lost a pair of playmakers Sunday in a loss to the San Francisco 49ers, as cornerback Sam Shields and linebacker Mike Neal both left with knee injuries that could prove significant moving into the offseason, according to ESPN Wisconsin.
Both players will be free agents heading into the spring, and if either injury proves serious, it could affect the probability of the Packers re-signing them. Mike McCarthy had no information on the severity of either injury after the game.
While the Packers' defense ended an up-and-down year by holding San Francisco to a respectable 23 points, their inability to get off the field on third down during the Niner's final game-winning drive proved to be the difference, and Shields and Neal's absences certainly played a factor.
The Packers were already without Clay Matthews and Neal's injury left them with only two active outside linebackers.
Green Bay also lost left tackle David Bakhtiari to a concussion during the fourth quarter. Bakhtiari forced himself onto the field for an extra point attempt after the play, but was later taken to the locker room and did not return.