Originally posted on Fox Sports Wisconsin  |  Last updated 12/22/11
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Packers inside linebacker Desmond Bishop faced a difficult reality this week. All of the personal goals he set for himself this season were dangling by their final thread. The calf injury Bishop suffered in the week leading up to Green Bay's Thanksgiving Day win over the Lions -- and then aggravated during that game -- had cost him what he had been working for since being selected by the Packers in the sixth round of the 2007 draft."I know in my mind, I know in my heart, that if I would have played all the games, at the end of the regular season, I'm 100 percent convinced I would have led the league in tackles," Bishop said. "Guaranteed."Through 10 games this season, Bishop was second in the NFL in tackles. He was also tied for the team lead in sacks and tackles-for-loss and was likely on his way to his first Pro Bowl.But after missing the last 3 12 games, Bishop knows that it would be nearly impossible for him to make up the 49-tackle difference between him and the league's leading tackler, London Fletcher of the Redskins."You really don't get no love on the defensive side of the ball, really," Bishop said. "All you can really do is, as an individual, try to stand out."It took Bishop four years to earn a starting job for the Packers. After longtime starter Nick Barnett suffered a season-ending injury in 2010, Bishop stepped in and finished the year with the second-most tackles on the team. That led to Green Bay allowing Barnett to sign with the Buffalo Bills in the offseason and re-signing Bishop to a contract extension.Now that Bishop is a fixture in the middle of the defense, he doesn't want to watch from the sideline."Words can't even describe how I really feel about it," Bishop said, then pausing for 10 seconds to collect his thoughts. "It sucks, man."Bishop again paused."I always had to be patient," he continued 8 seconds later. "I had to be patient around here for a few years. Now I finally get my chance and this happens. It's like ..."Again, Bishop took a moment before continuing."It really pisses you off, you know?" he said. "It's like, who do you get mad at? So the only thing I can do is take the positive from the situation, and I haven't quite figured out what that is yet, but I'm sure I will eventually."Even after missing the past month due to his calf injury, Bishop leads the Packers in tackles. He is still second on the team in sacks (only one behind Clay Matthews) and still tied for first on the team in tackles-for-loss."When they mention the team, it's the team, it's the Green Bay Packers well, and Aaron Rodgers," Bishop said. "The only way you can shine as an individual is you have to put the work in and get the stats and make the plays, whatever it takes. It sucks that it's been hindered a little bit."Though Bishop seemed to have a chance at a Pro Bowl selection a month ago when he was a few tackles away from being No. 1 in the league, perhaps voters will notice that he is still ranked 19th in the NFL despite his games missed with injury.Of the top 20 tacklers in the league, Bishop leads that entire group in sacks with five."I just want to stay on the same track, or surpass my past production, just to be like, Hmm,' and get people thinking, What if he did have those three or four games?' " Bishop said. "That's kind of my personal thing."Bishop, who has been able to practice this week and could play Sunday against the Bears, is also holding out some hope for the Pro Bowl."I think it is (still possible)," Bishop said. "If it didn't happen, I wouldn't be surprised. (Without my injury), there would have been no way that I could have been denied."Injury updates: Wide receiver Greg Jennings continues to miss practice with a sprained MCL but is scheduled to return for the playoffs. Defensive lineman Ryan Pickett has yet to be cleared from the concussion he suffered on Dec. 11 and has not practiced. Starting right tackle Bryan Bulaga (kneecap sprain) did not practice Thursday and "will be challenged to play" Sunday, according to coach Mike McCarthy. Though veteran left tackle Chad Clifton is practicing this week for the first time in more than two months, McCarthy said that Clifton is not ready to start taking team snaps yet.Follow Paul Imig on Twitter.
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