Packers All-Pro LT David Bakhtiari believes he will be ready to play in Sunday’s season opener against the Vikings. It would be his first in-game action since Week 18 of last season when the Lions hosted the Packers.
Bakhtiari has been dealing with complications in his left knee since tearing his ACL on December 20, 2020. While rehabbing, he missed all of the team’s 2021 offseason practices and struggled while ramping up his physical activities. Briefly, Green Bay thought he would return for the second half of 2021, but further issues forced medical staff to shut him down again before finally activating him in Week 18 against the Lions.
In that game, Bakhtiari played just 40% of Green Bay’s offensive snaps. The hope was that it would be a warm up game before the start of the playoffs, but he didn’t suit up again. He underwent a third knee surgery in June of 2022 and was on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list until late August when he was finally activated.
He managed to participate in 11-on-11 drills for multiple practices leading up to this week, and spoke to the media after Monday’s session. “I can get through the season,” Bakhtiari said. “It’s going to be fine. You have to just manage while playing.
“I’m just getting back in the swing of things. So, I mean, I think there’s normal rust and then new normal with three surgeries, so just kind of working that out and figuring out what my routine is.”
From an analysis standpoint, Bakhtiari and the Packers would be smart to temper expectations. Bakhtiari has gone on record saying he was plagued by setbacks during his recovery, including swelling, having fluid drained 15+ times, and additional damage inside the reconstructed knee.
Last season both he and head coach Matt LaFleur said team doctors believed the long-term health of the knee was fine, however he simply needed to rest it. So long as the rest and recovery period is complete he should be fine. But until then, it’s best to be cautious.