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Green Bay Packers lose injured D.J. Smith for season

Green Bay Packers inside linebacker D.J. Smith is out for the season, coach Mike McCarthy announced at his Monday news conference.

Smith suffered a knee injury during Sunday's 42-24 victory over the Houston Texans.

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The second-year pro became a starter in Green Bay after Desmond Bishop was lost for the season with a torn hamstring during the preseason. Veterans Robert Francois and Brad Jones should have the first opportunity to replace Smith. Francois started two games on the inside in 2011 while A.J. Hawk dealt with a calf injury.

The Packers' defense played admirably against the previously undefeated Texans. Cornerback Sam Shields (shin) and outside linebacker Nick Perry (knee) also were injured during the game. Nose tackle B.J. Raji sat out with a sprained ankle he suffered the previous week against the Indianapolis Colts. McCarthy says he'll know more about Shields and Perry later in the week, the Green Bay Press-Gazette reported.

Green Bay is 15th in scoring defense in the NFL (22.5 points per game). If guys are going to be banged up, this is a good stretch for it, with the St. Louis Rams, Jacksonville Jaguars and Arizona Cardinals on the schedule the next three weeks.

Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.

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