The reinforcements keep coming for the Green Bay Packers. On Sunday, David Bakhtiari and Josh Myers returned to the field. If not for a stint on the reserve/COVID-19 list, Jaire Alexander might have done so as well, but he practiced last Friday and is likely to be ready to go for the team’s first playoff game in the Divisional Round. Randall Cobb is in a similar position, being held out of the season finale as a precaution with the expectation that he will be able to play in the Packers’ next game.
On Wednesday of the team’s first-round bye week, two more critical players are gearing up for their returns to game action.
The Packers are practicing on Wednesday, and head coach Matt LaFleur said in the morning that he expects both outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith and offensive lineman Billy Turner to return to practice in some capacity. Indeed, media members spotted both players on the practice field early in the session.
Smith will have to be designated for return from injured reserve, a move that should come down on the transaction wire on Wednesday afternoon. News of Smith’s impending return broke on Monday morning, but this is the strongest public confirmation yet from a team source that he is headed back onto the field.
Turner, meanwhile, missed the last four games of the regular season with a knee injury and spent a week on the COVID list. The Packers reactivated Turner from the list to the active roster on Tuesday, setting him up to start practicing today. However, LaFleur noted in his press conference that Turner will participate in individual drills only on Wednesday.
One additional return on Wednesday is inside linebacker and special teamer Ty Summers, who has spent the last few weeks on injured reserve. He was also back at practice, signifying that he is being designated for return along with Smith.
Two notable absences in practice were Bakhtiari and Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Bakhtiari’s absence is due to a rest day, however, and should be no cause for concern; however, MVS suffered a back injury against the Lions on Sunday and his status will be worth monitoring over the next week and a half.
Still, today’s practice should be a significant step for Smith and Turner, who surely have their eyes set on playing next weekend in the Divisional Playoffs.