Green Bay Packers All-Pro LT David Bakhtiari had another knee procedure; no timetable for return

GREEN BAY, Wis. – There’s finally an explanation for why Green Bay Packers all-pro left tackle David Bakhtiari is still not back from his cruciate ligament tear 573 days ago: He’s had another knee surgery — which would be at least his third known surgery since the first injury on December 31, 2020.

Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst said Wednesday that Bakhtiari has returned for another procedure this offseason. Coach Matt LaFleur stated that this happened before the Packers returned to the offseason program in April.

Bakhtiari participated in the offseason program but did not train in OTAs and minicamps. Instead, he worked sideways with the rest of the players to recover from injuries.

Bakhtiari only played 27 snaps last season – all in the regular-season finals in Detroit more than a year after the injury and then was shut down for the playoffs. Between the first ACL reconstruction and the game against Detroit, Bakhtiari underwent a second surgery to reduce knee swelling.

It remains unclear if Bakhtiari will be available for the Sept. 11 season opener in Minnesota.

“We’re not going to put a timeline on it, but what I want to say is that Dave had a very serious injury — much more than just an ACL a long time ago,” Gutekunst said. “I thought he broke his tail last season to come back. When we went through the last game against Detroit, I don’t think he was particularly happy with the reaction. He had one more procedure in the off-season, but I think we’re cautiously optimistic.”

Gutekunst said he has no qualms about Bakhtiari not only playing again, but returning to an All-Pro level. But unless Bakhtiari is ready for the opener, it’s possible the Packers would open the season without their top two linemen — Elgton Jenkins is also trying to come back from a cruciate ligament rupture that occurred Nov. 21 against the Vikings.

The Packers also started Wednesday without two receivers at training camp, who were expected to make up for the loss of Davante Adams. Second-round pick Christian Watson was placed on the physically incapable player list before camp opened, and veteran free agent signing Sammy Watkins was placed on the non-football injury list.

Watkins isn’t expected to miss much time, but Watson could miss more from training camp. A source said the rookie underwent minor knee surgery following the Packers’ offseason program in June.

“I think there was some kind of thought process [of] Do you want to try and get through the season and end this after the season (2020) or should we just go ahead and do it now?” Gutekunst said. “And we just did it now. So he’ll miss a bit of time at camp, but it’s not long-term.

“If we invest what we have invested in Christian, then of course we are looking at the long term. We always do. He’s a young player with a great career ahead of him so we want to make sure we protect that. This is how he will react during rehab. As soon as he’s ready, we’ll get him out of there.”

Watson has trained just three times this offseason with Aaron Rodgers, who only attended mandatory minicamp in June, and now he’ll miss more opportunities to build chemistry with the quarterback.

“It’s going to be a challenge,” LaFleur said. “There’s nothing like reps, especially full-speed reps. I think Christian was pretty impressive in terms of how quickly he could absorb everything. … [But] there’s nothing like those reps, pre-season reps and practice reps. It will be a process.”

Gutekunst said he has no plans to add an experienced receiver at this time. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Packers made inquiries about Julio Jones before he signed with Tampa Bay this week. Green Bay Packers All-Pro LT David Bakhtiari had another knee procedure; no timetable for return

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