Packers’ Bakhtiari had another knee operation, no timetable for return
Watkins should be back soon, Watson will miss time in camp
GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Packers GM Brian Gutekunst announced on Wednesday morning that LT David Bakhtiari has had another knee surgery and gave no timetable for the All-Pro to return to practice or play.
Bakhtiari tore his ACL on New Year’s Eve 2020 and has played just a quarter and a half of football since. He is on the Physically Unable to Perform list to start training camp. The offensive lineman told us after practice that his knee finally feels normal. Although he wouldn’t definitively say he will play again, Bakhtiari did say his concern level is low.
He is now nearly 19 months removed from his original knee injury.
“It’s a nightmare, it’s my nightmare that I have to live and I don’t know how many days it’s been,” Bakhtiari said. “I’m just excited to wake up one day. We’re not really in an ACL issue, that’s been actually a long time ago that we put that chapter to bed. It’s just there are other issues that we’re navigating around, things I’m learning. Like I said, it’s just been my nightmare, it’s something that I have to live with.”
The All-Pro signed the richest deal for an offensive lineman in league history just one month before his injury. He rehabbed in 2010, but did not come off the P.U.P. list to start practicing until more than midway through the season. When he finally got on the field in the 2021 regular season finale at Detroit, he left in the 2nd quarter. Bakhtiari did not practice at all during the Packers’ offseason program.
Gutekunst gave updates on his sidelined receivers to start camp as well. Veteran WR Sammy Watkins’ stint on the Non-Football Injury list is expected to be “a very short-term thing” and does not concern Gutekunst. But rookie WR Christian Watson is expected to miss some more meaningful time in training camp after the Packers discovered an issue at OTA’s and decided to take care of things before the season, instead of trying to make in through the season before addressing the issue. ESPN and Cover 2′s Rob Demovsky report Watson had a knee operation done.
But no matter how much time Watkins and Watson miss, it’s significant.
“There’s nothing like those reps with a guy like number 12,” said LaFleur. “That’s as easy as I can put it for you. It’s important to get all of those guys as many reps with him as possible, whether it’s full speed or walk through.”
“During stretches, I was looking over at the injury line and there’s eight or nine guys we’re expecting to play big roles for us,” said Aaron Rodgers. “It’s a little rare, I think, to go into training camp and have that kind of injury issue, but it opens up some opportunities.”
The Packers did have Dean Lowry and Patrick Taylor available for the first practice as they came off the P.U.P. list right away.
As for the practice itself? The offense got the best of the defense, which came as a surprise to some, including Rodgers. He cautioned that the offense would have to take its lumps in camp against the talented Packers’ defense. But Rodgers’ unit won the day.
Rodgers got things going hitting Juwann Winfree for a deep ball up the right side against great coverage. Rodgers also connected on a deep jump ball to new #1 receiver Allen Lazard.
Rodgers’ performance drew a big fist bump from quarterbacks coach Tom Clements.
“When I was a young player, I wanted nothing more than to make Tom Clements happy, and it was incredible motivation for me,” Rodgers said. “Because I would have great games, in my opinion, and Tom would give me a minus performance. It motivated me because I love that Tom held me accountable in more ways than just the stat sheet. It was about the fundamentals, the decision making, the footwork, and stuff that has really molded me into the quarterback I am today. So, on day one to get a fist bump was pretty sweet. I said, ‘Tom, you haven’t seen me play in a while, that was for you.’”
Rodgers’ connection with Lazard was on display Wednesday. And after practice, Rodgers took a big of a dig at his old #1 receiver, Davante Adams.
“I mean it’s always tough going from hall of famer to hall of famer,” Rodgers said. “From Davante to Allen it is going to be a transition, but he is capable of a lot. (Lazard) hasn’t had a ton of opportunities, but since his first day here he has turned heads... but as I said, hall of famer to hall of famer.”
Of course that was a reference to Adams recently saying that it’s tough going from a hall of famer to a hall of famer. Adams is, of course, going from playing with Rodgers (a future hall of famer), to playing with Derek Carr in Las Vegas. Carr who doesn’t have a hall of fame resume so far.
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