Green Bay Packers outside linebacker Kingsley Enagbare went down with an injury against the Dallas Cowboys in the Wild Card Round of the playoffs, but the team has not been clear on the diagnosis. Last week, Enagbare, who was talked about as a player with a season-ending injury by head coach Matt LaFleur, still remained on the Packers’ 53-man roster — rather than being placed on the injured reserve — by the time the team kicked off against the San Francisco 49ers in the Divisional Round.
On Monday, Enagbare, who met with the press in the locker room, told the media that he did indeed have a torn ACL. That is the same injury that NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported was the Packers’ fear for the diagnosis last week.
According to Enagbare, via the Green Bay Press-Gazette’s Ryan Wood, the pass-rusher initially believed that his knee injury was a bone bruise, leading to him staying on the field for one more play before exiting the field at AT&T Stadium. Enagbare told the press,” I don’t think this is going to be too big of a setback.”
Back in 2022, outside linebacker Rashan Gary — a player who lines up at the same position as Enagbare — tore his ACL on November 6th. Gary wasn’t a full-go starter for the Packers until December 10th this season. If we’re following a similar timeline for Enagbare’s injury, that means that he likely won’t be back to full strength until around December of 2024, though, the fact that he would likely be playing on a pitch count might speed up his opportunity to see the field.
Going into next season, the team is likely to have three contributors return at the outside linebacker position: Gary, Preston Smith and first-round pick Lukas Van Ness. The only other outside linebacker on the 53-man roster is undrafted rookie Brenton Cox Jr., who was a healthy scratch versus the 49ers and was displaced on the depth chart by practice squadder Keshawn Banks.
Do not be surprised if the Packers take a late-round swing on an outside linebacker in April, as they might want to add some competition to the fourth outside linebacker position for the start of the 2024 season. As a reminder, outside linebacker and defensive linemen are the most-rotated positions on the entire team, in terms of how often the preferred, healthy starters are taken off of the field.