Still dealing with knee trouble, David Bakhtiari will return to injured reserve. The Packers will be without their All-Pro blindsider for at least four games, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero report. The Packers have since announced the IR placement.
Bakhtiari has not played since Week 1. Because this transaction is taking place before Green Bay’s Week 4 game, Bakhtiari would be eligible to return in Week 8. But it is far from a lock he will be able to do so, with Rapoport indicating the 11th-year veteran may need more time to come back this year — if, in fact, a return is in the cards.
Bakhtiari, who will turn 32 on Saturday, has undergone three knee surgeries since his New Year’s Eve 2020 ACL tear. That injury effectively threw the highly paid blocker’s career off course. He only returned for a handful of snaps during the 2021 season and missed six games last year. Prior to the seminal 2020 setback — one that played a significant role in the Packers’ Super Bowl LV push falling just short — Bakhtiari had never missed more than four games in a season.
Matt LaFleur said Bakhtiari experienced swelling in his surgically repaired knee before Week 2. The fifth-year Green Bay HC had previously declined to comment on Bakhtiari playing on FieldTurf; the veteran has been a vocal opponent of the surface. But Bakhtiari also missed the Packers’ home opener at Lambeau Field, putting to rest the speculation on his Week 2 absence being field surface-related.
It is safe to say Bakhtiari’s career is now at a crossroads. The Packers are certainly a better team when the three-time Pro Bowler is available, but this is the third season in which knee trouble will lead to at least six missed games. The Packers are also down Elgton Jenkins to a knee injury. Jenkins joined Bakhtiari in missing much of the 2021 season, having suffered an ACL tear himself. But Jenkins recovered from his severe injury on time and has since signed a lucrative Packers extension. Jenkins has been out since suffering an MCL sprain in Week 1. The fifth-year guard does not expect this injury to force an IR stint, ESPN.com’s Rob Demovsky notes.
Rasheed Walker has primarily replaced Bakhtiari at left tackle. While the Packers were able to get by without both Bakhtiari and Jenkins en route to home-field advantage in 2021, Aaron Rodgers being in MVP form propped up that effort. Jordan Love being without his best two O-linemen will obviously hinder the cause early in his starter run, though the Rodgers successor managed to eke out a shorthanded win over the Saints last week.
The Packers are also expected to have two of their skill-position pillars back against the Lions Thursday night. Aaron Jones is set to return from his hamstring injury, per Pelissero, who adds Christian Watson is on track to make his season debut after missing three weeks due to a hamstring ailment.