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Packers LT David Bakhtiari out for season, injury believed to be torn ACL

On the last day of 2020, this hellscape of a year delivered a crushing blow to Green Bay’s title hopes.

Carolina Panthers v Green Bay Packers Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

So much went right for the Green Bay Packers in 2020. This football season has unquestionably been a successful one, with the team on the brink of clinching the top seed in the NFC playoffs. At 12-3, the Packers are poised to earn a playoff bye and home-field advantage, while quarterback Aaron Rodgers is seemingly the front-runner for the MVP award.

The Packers avoided major injuries and significant COVID-19-related issues all year long...until December 31st.

Today, the Packers saw one of their best and most important players suffer an injury in practice that will cost him the rest of the season. Left tackle David Bakhtiari dropped out of Thursday’s practice with an injury, and this evening reports are emerging that the injury is season-ending — and that the Packers believe it to be a torn ACL.

This will be the first major injury that Bakhtiari has suffered in his career, as he has never played fewer than 12 games in a single season. He was named as the starting left tackle on the NFC Pro Bowl team last week, his third Pro Bowl honor, and should earn a first-team or second-team All-Pro nod as well, which would be his fourth time as an All-Pro.

Typical recovery times for torn ACLs are between 9 and 12 months. If Bakhtiari comes back on the early end of that time frame, he may be ready to go in time for the start of the 2021 season. Notably, Bakhtiari signed a new contract extension a few weeks ago that included $92 million in new money and extended his current deal for four years to run through 2024.

The Packers may now be forced to turn to Elgton Jenkins or Billy Turner at left tackle. Both players have started at tackle at different times this season, but Rick Wagner’s injury — he practiced on a limited basis on Thursday — may complicate matters for the Packers moving forward. Turner started a few games earlier this season in Bakhtiari’s place at left tackle.

Green Bay plays the Chicago Bears on Sunday. A Packers win would clinch the NFC’s top seed.