On The Pat McAfee Show on Tuesday, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers divulged some details on key injuries that the Packers are working through. Specifically, he spoke on his preferred left tackle David Bakhtiari (knee, abdomen) and return man/cornerback Keisean Nixon (groin).
Bakhtiari has missed the last three games following an emergency appendectomy. He has yet to return to practice as of Tuesday of Week 17. On McAfee, Rodgers — after admitting that Bakhtiari probably wishes he wouldn’t touch on the subject — stated, “I feel confident that he’s gonna be practicing this week and hopefully trending toward playing.”
In Bakhtiari’s absence, fourth-round rookie Zach Tom has been starting as Rodgers’ blindside tackle. Even if Bakhtiari pushes Tom out of the left tackle role, Tom might be needed at right tackle, where preferred starter Yosh Nijman left Sunday’s game with a shoulder injury. With both Bakhtiari and Nijman off the field, the Packers turned to the Royce Newman, the team’s 2021 starting right guard, to play on the right bookend. Newman struggled versus the Dolphins in Week 16. On Monday, head coach Matt LaFleur called receiver Christian Watson, Nijman and Nixon all “day to day.”
On the topic of Nixon, Rodgers said, “I think he’s gonna try and play this week.” Not only is Nixon on a historic pace as a kick returner, but he is also the team’s starting nickel cornerback with Eric Stokes out of the lineup. When Nixon left the Miami game, reserve safeties Innis Gaines and Tariq Carpenter split reps as the team’s emergency slot options.
Not all the injury news coming out of Green Bay on Tuesday was positive, though. Defensive lineman Dean Lowry was placed on injured reserve by the Packers, opening up a roster spot for the poaching of Seattle Seahawks practice squad receiver Bo Melton. The silver lining of Lowry’s placement on the IR is that Green Bay will have to play first-round rookie Devonte Wyatt more. Against the Dolphins, Wyatt recorded a career-high 24 snaps on defense. In limited snaps, Wyatt has flashed that first-round potential on the defensive line this season.