Green Bay Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari, who was recently placed on the injured reserve, spoke in great detail on Friday about the “new” setback in his knee and his path to recovery from his 2020 ACL tear. If you want the short story on Bakhtiari’s 35-minute interview, it’s that the bookend and the Packers are finally confident that they’ve identified the issue that’s limited him to just 13 games since New Year’s Eve 2020.
According to Bakhtiari, the initial diagnosis of his injury was an ACL tear and a partial tear of his lateral meniscus. On January 7th, 2021, he had surgery to repair his ACL and clear out “a little bit” of his meniscus, which he estimated was 10 to 15 percent of the overall piece of cartilage.
What he and the Packers were unsure of, after getting multiple opinions from the doctors, was if he needed to have surgery on the cartilage attached to his femur — which has now been identified as the issue that has caused the swelling in Bakhtiari’s “repaired” knee. “We’re at the point now where it’s clearly evident that that’s the issue,” said the former Pro Bowl tackle. “The clarity is to know that we finally know that the problem is, and we can address the problem.”
Apparently, both sides knew that this femur cartilage issue could have popped up down the line, but without the certainty of a diagnosis, surgeons didn’t want to potentially repair a knee joint that they weren’t necessarily sure needed the surgery. “We knew about the issue when it happened, and then the whole goal was like ‘let’s even see if you’re a symptomatic individual’,” said Bakhtiari, “There’s plenty of individuals and a lot of other football players that have this and they’re totally fine.” Last week, Packers head coach Matt LaFleur hinted that the team always knew that Bakhtiari’s current issue could have been a possibility back at the time of his initial injury in 2020.
Bakhtiari claims that he’s had to have 160 ccs of fluid drained from his knee at times, which is roughly equal to about two-thirds of a cup. That volume of fluid in his knee “shut down” his hamstring at different points, which is why he was in and out of the lineup over the last two seasons.
In an effort to identify if that fluid generation was due to a cartilage issue, Bakhtiari had two “clean-ups” following his 2021 surgery, which focused on clearing out scar tissue so that doctors could isolate the cartilage as a root cause for his problems. “The ability to truly assess ‘is that a problem?’ fast forwards us to where we are today,” noted the blindside tackle.
Bakhtiari made it clear that his situation was not a “bone on bone” issue, but one that revolves around “constant debris and lack of smoothness” due to that femur cartilage. He confirmed that he had a third “clean out” and a scope last week, which is the precursor to a second surgery that is designed to fix his cartilage problem. He declined to give the media a date on which the surgery will occur. He also declined to tell the media what the exact procedure he will undergo is called.
Bakhtiari ultimately stated that he wants to continue to play football because he has “personal goals and aspirations” that he wants to meet. When asked if he would be willing to adjust his contract for salary cap relief, he stated, “We’ll talk about it when we get there. I wouldn’t rule anything off the table, on both ends.” At the moment, Bakhtiari is slated for a cap hit north of $40 million in 2024, a contract year, which would rank him first among non-quarterbacks in the NFL next season.
If you would like to watch the full 35-minute interview, it’s linked below: