Pederson has back injury, broken rib

Updated: October 5, 2004, 1:07 PM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

Barring unexpected complications from the concussion Brett Favre suffered Sunday, the Packers will have their starting quarterback in the lineup for their Monday night game against the Titans.

Doug Pederson
Pederson

Brett Favre
Favre

That's a good thing -- because the struggling Packers, who will try to snap out of the first three-game losing streak ever under coach Mike Sherman, will have to play the next several weeks without Doug Pederson, their quarterback safety net.

The 12th-year veteran, who has served as Favre's caddie for five of the past seven seasons, suffered a broken rib and fractured transverse process in his back during Sunday's loss to the Giants. The injuries are expected to sideline Pederson, 36, for four to six weeks. More important, the loss of Pederson pares the depth chart behind Favre to a pair of young quarterbacks who have logged one regular-season pass attempt between them.

It also magnifies the inability of the Packers, despite a number of attempts over the last few seasons, to upgrade the backup position.

Third-year veteran Craig Nall, who completed the first attempt of his career as time expired Sunday, will serve as Favre's primary backup. Nall probably will take most of the snaps with the first-team offense Wednesday as Green Bay begins preparations for Tennessee, with Favre expected to skip the practice session.

The No. 3 quarterback will be J.T. O'Sullivan, the third-year veteran acquired Monday from New Orleans in the trade that sent unhappy cornerback Mike McKenzie to the Saints. His highly regarded mental capacity aside, it likely will take O'Sullivan, who had appeared in just one game with the Saints, a few weeks to assimilate the Packers' offense.

Pederson apparently was injured on a third-quarter play in which he scrambled and was hit at the sideline by Giants defensive end Keith Washington. Members of the Packers' staff said they were not aware during the game of the extent of Pederson's injury. Offensive coordinator Tom Rossley acknowledged Monday that the injury had hampered Pederson in throwing the ball and that he should have replaced him with Nall earlier in the game.

There is a possibility, as the Packers continue to evaluate Pederson's medical status, that he could be placed on injured reserve, which would end his season. Of the two injuries, the fracture to the transverse process, a small bone that essentially attaches muscles and ligaments to the spine, is considered the more serious.

Also notable is that Pederson's injury will force Green Bay to use a new holder on field goal and extra point attempts. Pederson, who has been the holder for Ryan Longwell during the kicker's entire career, will be replaced by punter Bryan Barker in that crucial role.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. To check out Len's chat archive, click here Insider.

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