Green Bay Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari is expecting to be ready to play in Week 1 against the Minnesota Vikings, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.
NOTE: Bakhtiari responded to a tweet from Demovsky, suggesting he’s maybe not certain of his availability for Sunday.
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Bakhtiari, a five-time All-Pro attempting to come back after a third surgery on his knee, was activated off the PUP list on Aug. 21. He finally returned to team drills in practice on Monday, per coach Matt LaFleur, providing the next big step in his long road back to the playing field.
If able to play in the opener on Sunday, Bakhtiari’s return would immediately solidify the left tackle position and the rest of the Packers offensive line entering the 2022 season.
It would also be a huge milestone for Bakhtiari.
After tearing his ACL and suffering other damage on Dec. 31, 2020, Bakhtiari labored through a nightmare rehab process and played in just one game last season. He needed a second clean-up surgery during the season in 2021 and then a third surgery before the offseason workout program this spring.
Despite returning to play parts of two quarters in Detroit in the season finale, Bakhtiari was inactive for the Packers’ playoff loss to the 49ers.
Elgton Jenkins’ status for Sunday is less certain. He is also coming back from a torn ACL. If ready, he would be expected to start at right tackle, forming a potentially elite tackle duo with Bakhtiari.