The Green Bay Packers earned a thrilling 24-21 victory over the previously-unbeaten Arizona Cardinals on Thursday night, but like so many games this year it came with a high cost. In the third quarter, tight end Robert Tonyan left the game after suffering a non-contact knee injury and on Friday the extent of that injury was confirmed.
According to his agent, Jack Bechta, Tonyan has torn the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. The injury will end Tonyan’s 2021 season, a big blow for the Packers even despite Tonyan’s modest receiving contributions (in comparison to his excellent 2020 campaign).
That is yet another injury to a Packers starter that will send him to injured reserve. Tonyan joins the likes of Jaire Alexander, Za’Darius Smith, and Marquez Valdes Scantling on IR, with left tackle David Bakhtiari still working his way back from the PUP list after an ACL tear of his own last New Year’s Eve.
For Tonyan, the injury comes at a particularly unfortunate time. He is playing the 2021 season on a restricted free agent tender and is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in March. Although he has just 18 receptions for 204 yards and two touchdowns through eight games, he has seen his production spike in the past two contests, over which he recorded a combined seven catches for 113 yards and one score. In fact, Tonyan’s injury on Thurday came on his longest reception of the season, a 33-yard catch-and-run over the middle of the field that set up the Packers’ final touchdown of the game.
The Packers did just get a boost to the tight end room in time for Thursday’s game, as Dominique Dafney returned from injured reserve and played for the first time since week two. The Packers also have Marcedes Lewis, Josiah Deguara, and Tyler Davis on the active roster at the position.
Look for Tonyan to be placed on injured reserve sometime before the Packers’ next game, which will take place a week from Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs.