Packers Offer Troubling Update on Bakhtiari’s Knee, Douse Turf Rumors

David Bakhtiari, Packers

Getty Left tackle David Bakhtiari of the Green Bay Packers.

The Green Bay Packers offered an unfortunate injury update on left tackle David Bakhtiari and attempted to bust a widely-circulated myth in the process.

Head coach Matt LaFleur spoke with media members during a press conference on Monday, September 18, during which he confirmed that Bakhtiari has an injured knee.

“Packers coach Matt LaFleur said David Bakhtiari had swelling in his knee leading up to Sunday’s game,” ESPN’s Rob Demovsky reported via X.

“His knee is injured,” LaFleur said.

“LaFleur does not believe that Bakhtiari’s absence was related to turf and that he wouldn’t have played if the game was on grass, either,” Demovsky continued.

Speculation Remains that Packers LT David Bakhtiari Skipped Game Over Turf Issue

David Bakhtiari, Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

GettyLeft tackle David Bakhtiari of the Green Bay Packers and quarterback Aaron Rodgers celebrate after a touchdown during an NFC Divisional Playoff Game against the Dallas Cowboys in January 2017.

Rumors of Bakhtiari’s absence due to the Atlanta Falcons‘ indoor field, which is made of turf, stemmed from comments the offensive lineman made in the wake of the Achilles tear suffered by New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers on the road against the Buffalo Bills in Week 1.

“Congrats @nfl. How many more players have to get hurt on ARTIFICIAL TURF??!” Bakhtiari posted to X on September 11. “You care more about soccer players than us. You plan to remove all artificial turf for the World Cup coming up. So clearly it’s feasible. I’m sick of this..Do better!”

Bakhtiari’s brother, Eric Bakhtiari, added fuel to the fire on Sunday when he posted a meme in response to a report from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport that the left tackle would miss the game against Atlanta.

The meme is a popular classic featuring a man standing in front of a “f*** around and find out” graph, which some interpreted as Bakhtiari choosing to sit in protest and in the name of protecting his knee. That knee has been a problem for the five-time All-Pro since he tore his ACL late in 2020. Bakhtiari missed five games that season, 16 of 17 contests the following year and six outings in 2022.

How seriously to take the actions of Bakhtiari’s brother on social media remains a viable question, one which inevitably leads to another — is LaFleur protecting Bakhtiari from league backlash by highlighting the left tackle’s knee injury and downplaying the turf angle?

Future matchups may tell the tale, especially if Bakhtiari is healthy enough to return to action next weekend at Lambeau Field against the New Orleans Saints. The Packers play on turf four more times this season: Week 12 against the Detroit Lions, Week 14 against the New York Giants, Week 16 against the Carolina Panthers and Week 17 against the Minnesota Vikings.

Packers Left Guard Elgton Jenkins Suffered MCL Sprain Against Falcons Sunday

Elgton Jenkins Fight Response

GettyOffensive lineman Elgton Jenkins of the Green Bay Packers lines up for a play during an NFL game against the New England Patriots in October 2022.

To make matters worse, left guard Elgton Jenkins suffered a sprained MCL on Sunday and is likely to miss a number of games. The two-time Pro Bowler spoke to reporters Monday about the injury.

“Elgton Jenkins said he has a sprained MCL in his left knee. In a sizable brace but does not think his season [is] over,” Demovsky reported. “When asked if it was turf-related, Jenkins said, ‘felt like it had something to do with it,’ because his foot got caught. But also said, ‘wrong place, wrong time.'”

That neither offensive lineman is likely to miss the remainder of the season is the silver lining to what is otherwise devastating news for a young Packers offense that has proven dynamic over the first two weeks of the season. Bakhtiari produced a stellar player grade of 78.3 over 55 snaps in Week 1, per Pro Football Focus. Jenkins has posted a PFF grade of 62.8 across 73 snaps through two games.

Green Bay’s offensive line is one of the best in the NFL and a key to the team’s success. The offense has already been without wide receiver Christian Watson for both games of the 2023 campaign due to a hamstring issue, while running back Aaron Jones sat out Sunday with a hamstring injury of his own.

Despite all the injuries, the Packers have scored 62 total points, which averages out to 31 points per contest and includes one defensive touchdown by linebacker Quay Walker.

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