When the Green Bay Packers activated All-Pro offensive lineman David Bakhtiari off the physically unable to perform list on November 10, many hoped he would see the field at some point during the regular season. While that may still happen, Packers head coach Matt LaFleur isn’t making any guarantees.
Bakhtiari didn’t practice yet again on November 18, missing his third straight practice. When he was asked if this meant that there would be an additional delay in Bak’s return, LaFleur didn’t have an encouraging answer.
“It’s just, it’s day-to-day. It’s part of the process. 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,” LaFleur said on November 18.
The Packers coach was then asked if Bakhtiari could win up not playing at all this season, and his response was less than reassuring.
ALL the latest Packers news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Packers newsletter here!
LaFleur on Bak Playing in 2021: ‘I Sure Hope So’
Bakhtiari tore his ACL in practice in late December last year, so no one expected him to return at the start of this season. He returned to the practice field on October 20, practicing three days that week. He also participated in practice the four days leading up to Green Bay’s Week 9 matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs. The five-time All-Pro was on the field again twice leading up to the Packers’ Week 10 win over the Seattle Seahawks — but he hasn’t practiced since.
When he was asked if Bakhtiari might not practice at all this season, LaFleur said this:
“Well, I mean, shoot, that’s a long time from now. I sure as heck hope he’s able to go at some point. Like I said, day-to-day.”
LaFleur was pressed, as a reporter noted Bakhtiari had been practicing every day until the end of last week, but the Packers coach held firm.
“Yeah, I’m not going to get into it, guys,” LaFleur responded, before going broken record. “You can ask a million different ways, I’m just gonna tell you the same thing over and over. It’s day-to-day, it’s part of the process. He’s coming off a major injury, he’s doing everything in his power to get back as quickly as possible, and that’s just where we are right now.”
It certainly wasn’t an encouraging response by any means.
Follow the Heavy on Packers Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
Bakhtiari Has Been Relatively Quiet About His Timetable for Return
For his part, Bakhtiari has been noncommittal about when he may return to live action, and understandably so. ACL tears are some of the most difficult injuries to come back from, and considering the amount of contact involved in playing o-line, there’s absolutely no need to rush him back, and the team knows that.
“It’s a fine line. That’s what I’ve figured out,” Bakhtiari said about his rehab in August, via The Wisconsin State Journal. “This is definitely my biggest injury. There are certain days where you can’t really do too much. I think the best rehab is the one that adjusts constantly on the fly, (based on) how much your body can tolerate, because you want to basically toe the line without crossing it. Once you do, you kind of set yourself back and you don’t want to be in that position.”
The concern over Bak’s return comes largely from his practicing for several weeks and then suddenly not practicing at all — but as long as no setback injury was suffered, he should eventually see the field this season.