When the Green Bay Packers begin practicing in training camp on Wednesday, the team will be down three starters and a few other key players. Seven players in total failed their initial physicals at the start of camp and landed on the Physically Unable to Perform or Non-Football Injury lists.
The group is led by left tackle David Bakhtiari, whose appearance on the PUP list does not come as a surprise. Bakhtiari suffered a torn ACL in practice last December, and his rehabilitation is ongoing. While Bakhtiari may be able to return later in training camp in time for the season opener, the team will give him every opportunity to get back to full strength before he returns to the field.
Meanwhile, the Packers have placed six players on the NFI list, which applies to players whose injuries took place away from team facilities. Star edge rusher Za’Darius Smith headlines this list, and his absence at the start of camp will mean that Rashan Gary and Preston Smith should take the bulk of the starters’ reps early on.
Joining Za’Darius Smith on NFI is another defensive starter, cornerback Kevin King, and a host of other role players: safety Henry Black, linebacker Tipa Galeai, defensive end Kingsley Keke, and safety Will Redmond.
All of these players are eligible to return to the field at any time once they are cleared by the Packers’ medical staff. However, if their injuries linger into the regular season, starting them off on the NFI list will allow the team to move them to a reserve status for the first few weeks of the year.
Note: the Packers also placed running back Patrick Taylor on the active/PUP list and rookie linebacker Isaiah McDuffie on the active/NFI list when those players reported a few days ago.
The Packers will host their first practice on Wednesday at 10:10 AM CT.
As a reminder, the PUP and NFI lists operate identically to one another. A player who fails his initial physical at the start of training camp can be placed on the active/PUP or active/NFI list, depending on when the injury took place. The player still counts against the roster limit through training camp, but is ineligible to participate in practice until being cleared by the medical staff and removed from that list. Note that a player cannot go on the PUP or NFI lists if he suffers an injury in camp — it is only for individuals who are injured when they arrive for the start of camp.
A player placed on active/PUP or active/NFI may be placed on reserve/PUP or reserve/NFI, which generally takes place at final cuts. That removes the player from the active roster, but makes him ineligible to play in the team’s first six regular season games.