GREEN BAY, Wis. – Green Bay Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari missed a third consecutive day of practice on Thursday, raising questions not about his availability for Sunday’s game at the Minnesota Vikings but his ability to play at any point this season.
Bakhtiari, who suffered a torn ACL on Dec. 31, practiced for the first time this year on Oct. 20. He practiced all three days the week before the Washington game and all four days before the Kansas City game. Last week, he was added to the 53-man roster on Wednesday, and practiced on Wednesday and Thursday. That made him 9-for-9 on practices.
However, he didn’t practice on Friday, was inactive for Sunday’s game against Seattle and didn’t practice on Wednesday or Thursday.
“It’s day-to-day,” coach Matt LaFleur said for the umpteenth time before Thursday’s practice. “It’s part of the process. He’s coming off a major injury. And like I said, we’re trying to put him in the best possible position for when he does return that he’s good to go.”
After his run of practices provided optimism that he was just about ready to return to the starting lineup, three consecutive missed practices beg the question of whether the five-time All-Pro had suffered a setback.
“I’m not going to get into it, guys,” LaFleur said. “You can ask a million different ways. I’m just going to tell you the same thing over and over. It’s day-to-day. It’s part of the process. He’s coming off a major injury. He’s doing everything in his power to get back as quickly as possible, and that’s just where we are right now.”
The Packers figure to go into Minnesota with Elgton Jenkins making a sixth consecutive start at left tackle. He’ll probably be joined by left guard Jon Runyan, center Lucas Patrick, right guard Royce Newman and right tackle Billy Turner. It would be the fifth consecutive game that quintet has lined up together.
Asked if Bakhtiari could miss the rest of the season, LaFleur said, “Shoot, that’s a long time from now. So, I sure as heck hope he’s able to go at some point and, like I said, day-to-day.”
The Packers will host the Rams next week before their long-awaited bye week. From there, it will be a five-game sprint to the playoffs.
“It’s going to be a grind for him. I think he’s realizing that,” offensive line coach Adam Stenavich said on Wednesday.
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Bakhtiari was one of the Packers’ four All-Pros last season. Only one practiced on Thursday, with receiver Davante Adams returning and being a full participant after sitting out Wednesday with a sore shoulder. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers (toe) was out for a second consecutive day. Cornerback Jaire Alexander (shoulder) remains on injured reserve.
Outside linebacker Rashan Gary practiced with a brace to protect his elbow. How he felt and was able to function on Thursday, the lone padded practice of the week, will determine if he can play on Sunday. Gary was limited participation, as were safety Darnell Savage and receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who were added to the report.
“I know his will and his mind-set,” Preston Smith said o. “It’s a personal decision he has to make. It’d be great to have him out there alongside me.”
Minnesota took seven players off its injury report, including cornerback Mackensie Alexander, center Garrett Bradbury and right tackle Brian O’Neill. The Vikings have been grappling with COVID but those players were back after false positive tests.
Packers Injury Report
DNP: LT David Bakhtiari (knee), RB Aaron Jones (knee), WR Alen Lazard (shoulder), TE Marcedes Lewis (rest), QB Aaron Rodgers (toe), WR Malik Taylor (abdomen).
Limited: Rashan Gary (elbow), DT Kingsley Keke (concussion), CB Kevin King (groin/shoulder), S Darnell Savage (ankle), WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling (hip).
Full: WR Davante Adams (shoulder), OLB TE Dominique Dafney (hamstring), WR Equanimeous St. Brown (ankle), CB Eric Stokes (knee/thumb).
Vikings Injury Report
Limited: LB Anthony Barr (knee), CB Bashaud Breeland (groin), LB Ryan Connelly (not injury related), G Wyatt Davis (ankle).
Full: WR Adam Thielen (heel/Achilles).