The first time this year that the Green Bay Packers had to file an injury report with the league was on Wednesday, when the team noted that offensive linemen David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins were full participants in practice. Both are coming off of ACL injuries, though, Jenkins was also listed with a pectoral injury.
If both are healthy, they are expected to start at the team’s tackle positions while Yosh Nijman and Jake Hanson could come off the bench as their injury replacements. Nijman is Bakhtiari’s backup and right guard Royce Newman would likely move to right tackle, with Hanson subbing in at right guard, should Jenkins not go against the Minnesota Vikings in the team’s season opener.
In the pre-practice presser on Thursday, head coach Matt LaFleur stated that the duo “did a nice job [on Wednesday] and that’s the hope that they can go out today and do some more team.” He also claimed that U.S. Bank Stadium’s turf will not impact the decision on whether or not Bakhtiari and Jenkins will play on Sunday, as he hadn’t given it a thought until he was asked.
When he was asked what the main factor in deciding whether or not the team’s two Pro Bowl offensive linemen will play in Week 1, LaFleur said, “All these guys have to prove that they have the ability to play. We don’t want to put anybody in jeopardy if they can’t protect themselves or are at a higher risk of further setbacks. I think that’s how we think about determining when a player is available.”
According to Sports Illustrated’s Bill Huber, both Bakhtiari and Jenkins did indeed practice again on Thursday, with Friday’s practice generally being a walkthrough before the team’s travel day on Saturday. While the Packers clearly don’t want to rush to judgment on greenlighting Bakhtiari and Jenkins to play on Sunday, the fact that they took the first-team reps in back-to-back practices of the week hints that there’s a good chance they end up suiting up against the Vikings.