It has to be a good sign, right? This past weekend, a video featuring Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and his All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari playfully sparring while the Rocky IV soundtrack played in the background made the rounds on social media — and it left fans and analysts alike looking extra-hard at Bakhtiari’s recently injured knee.
First shared by Proactive Sports Performance on Instagram, the video later circulated on Twitter, where people began scrutinizing the 29-year-old tackle’s left leg, looking for any potential hint as to how his recovery process might be going. The four-time All-Pro tore his ACL in practice toward the end of the regular season last year and was forced to miss the postseason as a result.
— Matt Schneidman (@mattschneidman) April 23, 2021
yep Bakh will be ready week 1. https://t.co/CXexJDTXFN
— Dave Steger (@StegNCheese) April 23, 2021
knee looking mobile!!!! https://t.co/WzlBsa9gxg
— Zach Jones (@Zach_2TheFuture) April 24, 2021
“It’s just one of those unfortunate, freak things that happens sometimes in practice,” Packers head coach Matt LaFleur said after Bakhtiari’s injury. “It was certainly nobody’s fault. It was a freaky deal, and you know, it’s tough to replace a guy of his caliber. I mean, you’re talking about a premier left tackle in this league.”
While the timetable for his return is unknown, Bakhtiari was moving around quite well in his knee brace, leaving many hoping the video featuring Rodgers playfully throwing jabs at him while wearing a virtual reality headset is a sign of good things to come in the near future.
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Green Bay Missed Bakhtiari in Playoffs
While the Packers managed to handle the Los Angeles Rams with ease in the playoffs last season, their 31-26 loss in the NFC Championship game at the hands of Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers left a bitter taste in the mouths of millions of Cheeseheads. Rodgers was sacked five times in that loss, and many wondered how different things may have been had Bakhtiari been able to play.
Bakhtiari signed a four-year extension with Green Bay this offseason worth up to $105.5 million, which included a record-setting $30 million signing bonus. While he hasn’t spoken about the ACL injury in any detail, he does seem to have a sense of humor about it.
When the Packers recently released a team hype photo that didn’t include him, Bakhtiari Tweeted: “I just tore my ACL. I didn’t die.”
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The Latest On Bakhtiari’s Knee: ‘All Signs Are Good’
“He looks great for where he’s at. You guys know him well,” Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst told Jason Wilde of the Wisconsin State Journal recently. “He’s going to work his tail off, and he’s a unique human being in the way he’s able to overcome challenges. He’s doing really well. It’s pretty early in the process, but at the same time, all signs are good right now.”
If Bakhtiari isn’t ready to hit the field Week 1, Gutekunst isn’t all that worried, however.
“The versatility of our offensive line certainly served us well in 2020, and I do think that if David’s not able to make it back — which I would not bet against — but if he’s not able to make it back…I think we’ll have some options there,” Gutekunst added.
Hopefully, Bakhtiari will be back protecting Rodgers’ blindside when the season begins. All indications seem good so far.