Bakhtiari returns, but for how long?

The Green Bay Packers got some good news on Sunday when left tackle David Bakhtiari was activated from the team’s physically unable to perform (PUP) list.

Bakhtiari had just signed a four-year, $94 million contract extension less than two months before tearing his left ACL during a freak play in practice. A series of setbacks limited his play to merely a handful of snaps late in the 2021 season. The fluid around his surgically repaired and rehabbed wouldn’t simply drain despite three procedures, making it impossible for the two-time first team All-Pro to resume playing.

“I didn’t realize how much I loved the game,” Bakhtiari told reporters on Sunday, “until it was trying to be taken away from me.”

Packers head coach Matt LaFleur is clearly elated to have one of his best players back on the field, but also urges caution about his return.

“It’s just we’re going to take it a day at a time,” coach LaFleur said on Sunday.  “There’s no thought as far as Week 1 is concerned right now. We just want to see how he responds, and when he’s ready, he’s ready.”

The Packers open their regular season Sept. 11 at Minnesota. Of course, there is no guarantee that Bakhtiari, nor fellow recent PUP list activations, Elgton Jenkins., Christian Watson, or Robert Tonyan will be available, either.

“That’s been a special moment that I’ve had really to this point, and I’m grateful to be back out there again,” Bakhtiari added. “Hopefully this is it, no more back and forth. Just positive, daily steps in the right direction.”

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