Packers LT David Bakhtiari Had Second Knee Surgery: Report

Bakhtiari Knee Surgery

Getty David Bakhtiari #69 of the Green Bay Packers leaves the field following a game against the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field on November 29, 2020 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Bears 45-21.

A great deal of mystery has surrounded All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari’s recovery process for the Green Bay Packers over the past several weeks, and now we finally have some clarity on why.

According to Tom Pelissero and Mike Garafolo of NFL Network, Bakhtiari recently underwent arthroscopic surgery to “clean up the knee that was reconstructed back in January” after he tore his ACL in practice on New Year’s Eve last year. The procedure means Bakhtiari will not practice for a second consecutive week or play against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 12, but Pelissero added “there’s optimism” the Packers will get back their top offensive lineman for the final stretch of the 2021 season.

The expectations for Bakhtiari’s return have varied since the team returned for training camp in late July. Initially, there was some external speculation that Green Bay’s blindside blocker might be able to avoid starting the season on an injury list and return in the early portion of the season, but the Packers ended up placing him on the reserve/physically unable to perform (PUP) list that required him to miss at least the first six games of the season.

Bakhtiari was then designated for return to practice at his first opportunity in Week 7 and was recalled to the active roster at the end of his 21-day activation window, seemingly keeping him on track to get back into the fold sooner rather than later. Things seemed to improve in Week 10 when was upgraded from “out” to “doubtful” on the injury report, but he was back to not practicing in Week 11’s build-up to the Minnesota game.

“It’s day-to-day. It’s part of the process,” Packers head coach Matt LaFleur said on November 18. He’s coming off a major injury, and like I said, we’re trying to put him in the best possible position for when he does return that, you know, he’s good to go.”

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Jenkins’ Injury Makes Bakhtiari’s Return Critical

Bakhtiari has been one of the league’s best left tackles over his first eight seasons with the Packers, earning five consecutive All-Pro selections (twice as a first-teamer) from 2016 to 2020. Prior to his ACL tear, he had also missed just nine games due to injury, making him valuable enough for the Packers to make him the highest-paid offensive tackle in the NFL last November on a four-year extension worth up to $105.5 million.

And yet, Bakhtiari’s eventual return has only become more critical to the Packers over the past few days after the team lost stud offensive lineman — and their stand-in left tackle — Elgton Jenkins to a torn ACL in Week 11’s loss to the Vikings. The injury means Jenkins will end up missing the rest of the season for the team, leaving them with Yosh Nijman as their starting left tackle until Bakhtiari is able to rejoin the lineup.

The Packers have been adapting to injuries along their offensive line all season with Jenkins previously missing three games with an ankle injury. They also lost second-round rookie center Josh Myers to a knee injury that landed him on injured reserve on October 23 with the team later conceding that Myers had surgery for the issue. It remains unclear whether Myers will return in 2021.

Until Bakhtiari is back, the Packers’ offensive line will presumably consist of Nijman (left tackle), Jon Runyan Jr. (left guard), Lucas Patrick (center), rookie Royce Newman (right guard) and veteran Billy Turner (right tackle). Turner is the only among them with at least two full seasons of experience under his belt.

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