GREEN BAY, Wis. – Green Bay Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari did not practice on Wednesday.
It’s possible Bakhtiari’s long-and-winding comeback has hit another snag. Or, it’s possible the plan was to hold him out on Wednesday – the lone padded practice of the week – practice him on Thursday and Friday, and have him in the lineup for Sunday’s big game at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Speaking before practice, coach Matt LaFleur said he had “no idea” if Bakhtiari would make his long-awaited return to the lineup this week.
“I don’t even let my mind go there at this point,” LaFleur said of having Bakhtiari make his debut this week against the defense that leads the NFL with 10 sacks.
Bakhtiari suffered a torn ACL at practice on Dec. 31, 2020. That injury required two surgeries, the second of which helped him get back on the field for the regular-season finale at Detroit on Jan. 9, 2022. However, Bakhtiari was inactive for the playoff game, had a third surgery during the offseason and started training camp on the physically unable to perform list. Bakhtiari was activated from PUP on Aug. 21 – exactly one month ago – and has practiced most days since.
Last week, Bakhtiari practiced on Wednesday, sat out on Thursday and practiced again on Friday before being inactive for the Sunday night game vs. the Bears. Last week, before the Thursday practice, LaFleur said even when Bakhtiari is “fully back, he’s not going to practice three days in a row.”
Yosh Nijman played well in eight starts last season and is off to a solid start to this season. He allowed an early sack to Robert Quinn against Chicago but otherwise played well in the victory over the Bears.
“We’re not going to game plan any different,” depending on Bakhtiari’s availability, LaFleur said. “We’re going to game plan, regardless. Don’t get me wrong, there’s definitely some things that you could potentially do differently, but I think Yosh has done a dang good job in his time starting for us. So, there’s not a lot, I would say, when it comes to that position with the way Yosh has played. Where it’s maybe a little bit different is if you’re talking about you’re losing your No. 1 receiver or No. 1 back or something like that, or quarterback, whatever it may be.”
Receiver Randall Cobb (illness) was the only other player not practicing on Wednesday.
For the Buccaneers, receivers Chris Godwin and Julio Jones did not practice. Defensive tackle Akiem Hicks is not expected to play because of an injured foot.
Packers-Buccaneers Wednesday Injury Report
DNP: LT David Bakhtiari (knee), WR Randall Cobb (illness).
Limited: RT Elgton Jenkins (knee), WR Allen Lazard (ankle), TE Marcedes Lewis (groin), WR Sammy Watkins (hamstring), WR Christian Watson (hamstring).
DNP: WR Chris Godwin (hamstring), DT Akiem Hicks (foot), WR Julio Jones (knee), TE Cade Otten (personal), OT Donovan Smith (elbow).
Limited: CB Carlton Davis (hip), RB Leonard Fournette (hamstring), WR Russell Gage (hamstring), C Robert Hainsey (knee), WR Scotty Miller (calf), WR Breshad Perriman (knee).
Full: CB Zyon McCollum (hamstring).