Packers Make Roster Move With David Bakhtiari Amid Nagging Knee Injury

Getty David Bakhtiari walks off the field in a game against the Chicago Bears in 2020.

The Green Bay Packers are placing All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari on injured reserve, the team announced on Thursday, September 28.

The transaction came just moments after NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport broke the news. It’s the latest chapter — and potentially the final page — of an unfortunate, traumatic saga that has derailed what could’ve been a Hall of Fame career.

Bakhtiari, who turns 32 years old in two days, will have to miss the Packers’ next four games at minimum. However, given the unpredictability of his knee, there’s a chance that he’ll have to be sidelined for much longer than that.

The Packers will be without Bakhtiari for the following games: Thursday night against the Detroit Lions, October 9 against the Las Vegas Raiders, October 22 against the Denver Broncos and October 29 against the Minnesota Vikings. The Packers do have the luxury of a Week 6 bye in the middle of those games, so Bakhtiari will have an extra week to heal.

How David Bakhtiari Arrived Here

Just one month after inking a record-breaking contract extension, Bakhtiari went down with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in practice on New Year’s Eve. He opened the following season on the team’s physically unable-to-perform list, keeping him shelved for at least the first six games of the year. After being activated to the 53-man roster, he was inactive for nearly every game until finally playing a handful of snaps in the regular-season finale versus the Lions.

The former fourth-round pick wasn’t seen again for the rest of the season. The top-seeded Packers had a first-round bye before welcoming the San Francisco 49ers into Lambeau Field for the NFC Divisional Round. Bakhtiari was inactive.

He’s had a myriad of setbacks with his knee, even as recently as two weeks ago. After playing in the Packers’ season opener, he missed the next two games due to what head coach Matt LaFleur referred to as swelling in his knee. Overall, he’s had three surgical procedures performed on the knee.

In the meantime, the Packers are going to lean on Rasheed Walker, one of their seventh-round picks from last spring. He’s received extensive looks at left tackle this past summer, playing 143 offensive snaps — 78 of them in pass protection — while allowing just two pressures on the quarterback in the team’s three preseason games, according to Pro Football Focus.

Walker was the next man up sans Bakhtiari and he hasn’t disappointed, even in the regular season. In the past two weeks, only three offensive tackles across the entire league have a higher pass-blocking efficiency rating than Walker (minimum 80 snaps). He’s allowed just a pair of pressures in 85 pass-protection snaps for the season.

Packers Make Additional Roster Moves Ahead of Week 4

In addition to moving Bakhtiari to injured reserve, the Packers also signed Kristian Welch to the active roster from the practice squad and elevated cornerbacks Corey Ballentine and Kiondre Thomas for gameday. Each of these moves leaves a trail of breadcrumbs that indicate game statuses for certain players Thursday night.

Middle linebacker De’Vondre Campbell, who sustained an ankle injury in last week’s win over the New Orleans Saints, was already ruled out on Wednesday, hence Welch’s promotion. He takes the roster spot left behind by Bakhtiari.

The elevations of Ballentine and Thomas don’t bode well for Jaire Alexander. He appeared on last Friday’s practice report with a back injury and will now miss multiple contests because of it. The Packers are preparing to be without him against the Lions.

For the first time this season, the Packers didn’t elevate tailback Patrick Taylor Jr. Well, not that they could. He’s out of game-day elevations, but the Packers still have three running backs on the active roster between Aaron Jones, AJ Dillon and Emanuel Wilson, the league’s preseason rushing leader.

The lack of activity with the running backs is good news for Jones, who was questionable with the hamstring injury he suffered in the regular-season opener. All signs are pointing toward him playing.

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