During the Packers-Rams game, Fox sideline reporter Erin Andrews noted that there was real potential for both cornerback Jaire Alexander and pass-rusher Za’Darius Smith to return to the Packers following the bye week. Smith fanned the flames of this theory when he posted a caption reading “It’s About That Time” along with a photo of he and Alexander to Instagram during the Packers’ bye week.
Za’Darius Smith: “It’s About That Time” pic.twitter.com/oeJ1bsxfkg— Matt Schneidman (@mattschneidman) December 3, 2021
Green Bay head coach Matt LaFleur was asked if Alexander, Smith and tackle David Bakhtiari, who recently had a second surgery to his knee, could return to practice this week. Here was his reply:
“Potentially. You know, certainly, we hope so. Those guys, again, are doing everything in their power but we’ll see where we’re at on Wednesday and then, obviously, you guys will get updated then.”
On one hand, this isn’t a clear yes. On the other hand, the fact that the trio has the potential to return to practice with more than a month before the playoffs start means they will all likely be able to suit up for the Packers in the postseason. If you’re a Green Bay fan, this is probably good news.
When asked about the ramp-up time for the three players, LaFleur stated, “It’s hard to put them all in the same box. They’re all recovering from different things. I trust that [trainer] Flea and our medical staff have a great plan for these guys, in terms of trying to incorporate them back into practice and the whole ready-to-play process for each individual. I wouldn’t say we lump them all into the same category.”
To refresh your memory, Alexander is dealing with a shoulder injury that didn’t require surgery, Smith is dealing with a back injury that did require surgery and Bakhtiari had a follow-up surgery to aid the recovery of his 2020 ACL tear. Beyond the trio of Pro Bowl players, LaFleur was also asked about center Josh Myers, who is also on the injured reserve list. LaFleur stated Myers “needs a little bit more time” before returning to the field. In the meantime, Lucas Patrick will start at center.