On Tuesday, the Green Bay Packers practiced with their entire active roster other than left tackle David Bakhtiari. This time it wasn’t a knee issue keeping the blindside tackle off the field. On the Friday before the Packers’ game against the Chicago Bears, Bakhtiari had an emergency appendectomy that led to him missing the rivalry game and leaving his current status in the air.
When asked about a potential timeline for Bakhtiari’s return on Thursday, Green Bay head coach Matt LaFleur stated, “I don’t know if this is the first time I’ve been around a player that’s had one of these, at least in the season.” LaFleur is right, it’s a strange injury for an NFL player, but there are some comparisons in the recent past. For example, Pittsburgh Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick had an appendectomy and returned to play within a week earlier in 2022.
LaFleur also noted that Bakhtiari has been able to play games without much practice this season, saying, “We’ll see how he progresses throughout the course of the week and, obviously, he’s a guy that doesn’t need a lot of time on the field to get out there and go play.” He later ended the conversation by claiming, “It’s probably a long shot, but we’ll see.”
Update of best offensive tackles pic.twitter.com/AVfXasb2NW— Timo Riske (@PFF_Moo) December 14, 2022
Despite missing at least one practice a week throughout the season and only playing 58 percent of the Packers’ total offensive snaps in 2022, Bakhtiari has been one of the best offensive tackles in the league when he’s been available. Between that fact and LaFleur’s words, it leaves the door open for Bakhtiari to suit up against the Los Angeles Rams on Monday Night Football this week, but it doesn’t appear that the team is banking on that happening.
The good news for Packers fans is that the Rams don’t have much of a pass rush this season. Their team leader in sacks is a three-way tie between off-ball linebacker Bobby Wagner, defensive lineman Aaron Donald (who may not play) and outside linebacker Leonard Floyd with five sacks on the year through 13 games.
It’s assumed that Bakhtiari will be replaced by fourth-round rookie Zach Tom, should Bakhtiari not be able to go on Monday. When asked about Tom, who has played 261 offensive snaps in 2022, LaFleur stated, “He’s stepped right in and, for the most part, he’s played at a pretty high level”
Going into last week’s slate of games, during the Packers’ bye week, Pro Football Focus had Tom graded as their most efficient pass-blocking offensive lineman in the rookie crop.