It was not exactly a shock, given how often we’ve seen this struggle from left tackle David Bakhtiari in the years since he tore his ACL in 2020. But the fact that Bakhtiari went back under the knife for an arthroscopic procedure last week, just ahead of the Packers’ Thursday night loss to the Lions, and that he is said to be undergoing another surgery in the near future, certainly is accompanied by significant disappointment.
The team placed Bakhtiari on the injured reserve list, meaning he will be out at least four weeks, though the expectation is that it will be much longer than that. That’s unfortunate because, in the one game that Bakhtiari played here in the new-look Packers Era, he was outstanding, teaming with Elgton Jenkins to give Green Bay a short-lived best left side in football.
What we don’t know for certain is when—or, dare we say it, if—Bakhtiari will be back on the field for the Packers. And when coach Matt LaFleur was asked about it on Monday, he was decidedly cryptic: “I’ll let Dave comment on that. I know he wanted to talk to you guys later on. I’ll let him talk about his timeline.”
Is David Bakhtiari Retiring?
That comment only sowed more confusion. Later on? The Packers are off on Monday and not back in the building until Wednesday. Was Bakhtiari going to call a press conference? Was he preparing to announce his retirement?
Again, for a player who mustered only one appearance in the 2021 season, which he mostly spent recovering from his ACL tear, and who missed six games last season before bowing out of the last three this season, nothing would be a surprise. The Packers have made no bones about Bakhtiari’s iffy status this season, allowing him to skip practice during the week to keep his knee as fresh as possible.
But losing Bakhtiari for certain, having him retire as a 33-year-old father figure on what is the youngest roster in the NFL, would still be a gut-punch for the club. That’s getting ahead of ourselves, of course, but LaFleur’s odd quote has left open that possibility.
Long Week Helpful for Reeling Packers
As for the players who are healthy and accounted for, LaFleur said he and his staff have spent the weekend combing through the many shortcomings that were exposed in Thursday’s loss to Detroit. After having a short week last week, the Packers have the advantage of an especially long week this time around, as they face the Raiders on Monday night.
“There’s so much in every area, and we’re still going through all that stuff today,” LaFleur said. “Having the Monday night (game) gives you a really good opportunity to go back and look at everything, from what you’re asking the players to the situations we’re in. There’s a lot of information we’re gathering and hopefully, we can use that to offset some certain tendencies and improve upon some certain things we know we have to do in order to win football games.”
But LaFleur said he is cautious of giving the Packers too much time.
“One of the tricks,” he said, “when you’re coming off a Thursday game and then you have a Monday, you can go the other way and give them too much volume. And I want to make sure our guys are ready to roll on Monday night.”