GREEN BAY, Wis. – David Bakhtiari got Aaron Rodgers a tricked-out Aston Martin golf cart, complete with a monogrammed “12” on the front seat.
Now, Bakhtiari wants a gift from his quarterback.
“It’s only going to disappoint me if I don’t have a yacht come Christmas,” Bakhtiari said as part of the accompanying video following Tuesday’s practice.
There’s no doubt Rodgers got a kick out of the gift, including the personalized license plate. While his teammates go back and forth to practice in trucks and various sports cars, Rodgers drives his new wheels to the practice field. But, really, the only gift the three-time MVP wants from Bakhtiari is the return of the All-Pro to the lineup following last year’s torn ACL.
During a rollicking 21-minute conversation with reporters, Bakhtiari shed some light into his comeback. There haven’t been any hiccups, he said, during approximately seven months of recovery. While he’s “really itching to get back out there,” he stopped short of offering any prediction on his availability for Week 1 at New Orleans in 40 days.
“I think we’ll address that fork in the road once we get there,” said Bakhtiari, who remains on the physically unable to perform list. “I wake up every morning, get in here at kind of the crack of dawn and make sure I attack everything from the rest and recovery to the rehab to the strength and conditioning side to kind of see where I’m at. And then when that fork on the road hits, we’ll see where I’m at physically and that’s going to dictate where I’m going to be.”
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Bakhtiari’s return is dependent on two things. One, it’s the health of the repaired ligament. Second, it’s the strength of his leg. Combined, the ACL and surrounding muscles will not only let him play but keep him safe.
“Physically from a strength standpoint, you have atrophy to your leg with the inability from the moment of surgery of turning on certain muscles after a long time,” he explained. “You lose a lot of muscle mass, atrophy to the calf, the hamstring. There’s four quads – that’s why they call it the quadriceps – atrophy to all four of those muscles that you need to rebuild. All that’s to do with stability. And then beyond that you have the graft. The graft needs to take and get blood flow and strengthen, and it goes through kind of a bell curve of a life span, and that’s where you get your date of where [doctors] feel comfortable. I think there’s a fine line between the two. The only way we know exactly when the graft is, is if I get cut open and they can go look and see where I am. Again, where does that put me? From what I know, I think we’re going to have open communication the entire way, see how I feel and once we all feel comfortable with where I’m at and when I can go out there and play not just football, but the brand of football I know and everyone else does, I think that’s where we’ll be in a good spot.”
In other pressing matters …
On his jersey swap with Dennis Kelly: “Took his jersey and then put mine in his locker. I’ve never met him before; I’ve only just been tagged in stuff saying that he’s like my doppelganger. I think it’s hilarious. He’s told me stories of him being down in Chicago and guys were being adamant that that’s me. He’s like, ‘Guys, I’m not David. Leave me alone.’ And I’m sitting there, I’m like, ‘Ha, it would be nice to be like 6-9. That would be pretty cool. It’s cool having a veteran that’s been around for a while, kind of share stories, experiences, guys that we can relate to that we’ve played against. I think he’s a great addition to the room. He’s awesome. I feel like I’m looking in a mirror, so that’s kind of fun.”
On new center Josh Myers: “I think he’s attacking it the right way. I think he’s got the good makeup. He’s a big man. I remember early on when he first walked in, I was like, ‘What’s your deal? You’re either a terrible athlete or a bad football player, because why are you playing center being 6-foot-5?’ And he kind of proved me wrong on both. I think he’s got a good makeup to be a good football player for a long time. I want to see what he can do, how he responds to adversity. I think that’s important. But he’s approaching it the right way. Though I will not say he’s my favorite center from Ohio State, he’s off to a good start.”
On the return of receiver Randall Cobb: “There’s not enough words or time that can express what Randall means in the locker room and as a player. I have in my locker a photo of him my rookie year. He was very friendly right off the bat. He’s a consummate pro. He does everything the right way, from the approach (and) everything off the field, to his preparation before practice, to knowing his playbook, to being on time, to even what it means to be a father, to be a husband, to be a man. There isn’t an amount of money that you can put a price tag on what he can teach people, whether you want to listen to him or if he happens to pull you aside. Talking about his football ability, his IQ is off the charts. His chemistry with our quarterback, obviously, as we’ve all experienced is something that is a recipe for success. I think what he brings in the wide receiver room as well as what he’s going to do in the slot is going to be very beneficial to us and add an extra weapon that can really help us out, not only in the regular season but I think down the stretch.”