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Green Bay Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari uncertain for Week 1 after offseason knee procedure

Matt Johnson

When Green Bay Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari tore his ACL during practice in December 2020, the team anticipated its All-Pro offensive lineman returning at some point during 2021 training camp. Now, Bakhtiari is uncertain to play in Week 1 of the 2022 NFL season.

The road to recovery has been unusually long for the 6-foot-4, 310-pound tackle. Typically, players are expected to return within 10 months after undergoing ACL surgery. Green Bay finally seemed to be in the clear when Bakhtiari played in Week 17 last season, but it appears new issues are sidelining one of the NFL top 100 players.

Related: Green Bay Packers training camp schedule

Months after head coach Matt LaFleur expressed optimism regarding Bakhtiari’s availability for Packers training camp, the 30-year-old landed on the Physically Unable to Perform list before practices began.

The placement came just months after Bakhtiari detailed his exhaustive recovery process to Aaron Nagler of Cheesehead TV, providing details about the setbacks and some of the issues he has experienced.

“We ended up draining it. I’d been draining it for a while. I know it’s not the best thing, repeatedly going into your knee. To be clear, it was my choice, because I just wanted to play. But I must have done it around 15 times throughout the season. We drained it that week, I had 96 ccs of fluid in my knee. To give you an idea, that’s a little bit less than four ounces of fluid in my knee. So there’s obviously an issue.”

Green Bay Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari on his long recovery from torn ACL (Cheesehead TV)

Even with Bakhtiari on the PUP list, there still seemed to be hope that he could return to the practice field in the near future. However, it appears there is no timetable for his return.

Related: Ranking concern levels for each Green Bay Packers player on PUP list

When will David Bakhtiari return?

Syndication: The Post-Crescent
Wm. Glasheen/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, general manager Brian Gutekunst admitted that Bakhtiari underwent another procedure on his knee this offseason. While he didn’t provide specific details, Green Bay’s executive did not that Bakhtiari’s injury was “much more than an ACL” as it was originally described at the time.

David Bakhtiari contract detailsBase SalarySigning BonusCap HitDead Cap (Released)
2022 season$1.12m$6m$13.42m$35.816m
Contract details via Spotrac

Bakhtiari’s own revelations in January about the issues with fluid in the surgically-repaired knee and the number of times it needed to be drained already offered indications that things didn’t go well. With the team now revealing the damage to his knee was far more extensive than originally reported, it helps explain why an injury suffered more than 500 days ago has caused so many problems and come with such a long recovery process.

Related: Green Bay Packers schedule, predictions

Unfortunately for Green Bay, Gutekunst couldn’t even commit to Bakhtiari playing in Week 1. While he did express optimism for a full recovery and that Bakhtiari will play again, the new uncertainty clouds his status for the start of the 2022 season.

“We’re not going to put a timetable on it.”

Green Bay Packers GM Brian Gutekunst on when David Bakhtiari will play again

With Elgton Jenkins also recovering from a torn ACL, the Packers would likely start Yosj Nijman at left tackle if Bakhtiari misses time during the regular season. If Bakhtiari, a two-time All-Pro selection, struggles to get on the field this fall, Green Bay could clear $17.5 million in cap space by designating him a post-June 1 cut next offseason.