When Elgton Jenkins fell to the turf and was carted to the locker room on Sunday, Green Bay Packers fans screamed out in terror, fearing the worst for the offensive lineman. On Monday, those fears were confirmed.
According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Packers have confirmed that Jenkins did in fact tear his anterior cruciate ligament. That injury will sideline Jenkins for the remainder of the 2021 season and could affect his availability for the start of 2022 as well.
Jenkins earned a Pro Bowl nod in 2020, when he started games at left guard, center, and right tackle. However, he has been playing left tackle in David Bakhtiari’s absence, and has played at a Pro Bowl-caliber level. He missed three games early in the season, but has protected Aaron Rodgers’ blind side well in his eight starts this year. With Bakhtiari expected to return sometime soon from an ACL tear of his own, most expectations were for Jenkins to return to the interior, likely to center or left guard. Now the Packers will be forced to keep its interior as-is until a potential return of rookie center Josh Myers, while Bakhtiari’s return becomes even more crucial as the team tries to achieve home-field advantage in the playoffs for a second straight year.
The Packers meet the 7-3 Los Angeles Rams next Sunday before finally having a bye week in week 13. It seems that Bakhtiari may be targeted for a return following the bye, which would mean that Yosh Nijman likely starts at left tackle against the Rams.
Also complicating matters is the fact that 2022 will be Jenkins’ fourth NFL season after being drafted in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft. 2022 will be the final year of his rookie contract, and the Packers would surely love to sign him to an extension to keep him in Green Bay beyond next season. That discussion will likely be tabled until next fall, when he hopefully could return to action once again.