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Packers Won't Have Pro Bowl OT Bakhtiari For Rest Of Season

Packers Won't Have Pro Bowl OT Bakhtiari For Rest Of Season

Green Bay Packers offensive tackle David Bakhtiari will miss the rest of the season after the three-time Pro Bowl selection injured his knee in practice Thursday.

Green Bay Packers offensive tackle David Bakhtiari will miss the rest of the season after the three-time Pro Bowl selection injured his knee in practice Thursday.

Packers coach Matt LaFleur confirmed the severity of the injury Friday. The injury comes six weeks after the standout left tackle agreed to terms on a four-year contract worth up to $105.5 million with a $30 million signing bonus.

Its just one of those unfortunate, freak things that happens sometimes in practice, LaFleur said. It was certainly nobodys fault. It was a freaky deal, and you know, its tough to replace a guy of his caliber. I mean, youre talking about a premier left tackle in this league.

The injury was first reported by NFL Network.

Bakhtiari played a major role in helping the Packers (12-3) win a second straight NFC North title and and score a league-leading 31.6 points per game. The 2013 fourth-round pick from Colorado was one of seven Packers selected to the Pro Bowl last week. He was a second-team Associated Press All-Pro pick last year.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers said Friday he was still kind of in the grieving process after learning Bakhtiari wouldnt return this season.

Its tough to see a guy go down at practice like that, Rodgers said. Youre hoping for the best. I got a call from him yesterday late in the afternoon. I was hoping for some good news, didnt get it. Youve got to move on, but right now its still a little raw. Were still sad and hurting for Dave just because its our brother and its our left tackle, our teammate. Its been a tough time for us…”

Bakhtiari missed three games earlier this season with broken ribs.

Bakhtiaris injury will force Green Bay to shuffle its offensive line once again as it heads to Chicago (8-7) in a game with major implications for both teams.

Green Bay can earn the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs plus a first-round bye if it beats or ties the Bears, or if San Francisco (6-9) beats or ties Seattle (11-4). Chicago can clinch a playoff berth with a victory.

During those three games, Green Bay adapted by moving usual right tackle Billy Turner over to the left side and having Rick Wagner enter at right tackle. Green Bay went 2-1 during that stretch with victories at Houston and San Francisco sandwiching a home loss to Minnesota.

Complicating matters this time: Wagner suffered a knee injury Sunday in a 40-14 victory over the Tennessee Titans. LaFleur said Friday that we think hes going to be good to go for the Bears game.

The Packers have dealt with multiple injuries on the offensive line but still have allowed just 20 sacks, the second-lowest total behind Pittsburghs 13.

Lane Taylor opened the year as the starting right guard but tore his ACL in the first game of the season. Bakhtiari missed those three games. Center Corey Linsley sat out three games with a knee injury. Turner sat out the Packers first two games with a knee issue.

Green Bay withstood those losses because it has linemen who can play multiple positions. Pro Bowl selection Elgton Jenkins has made 11 starts at left guard, two at center and one at right tackle this season. Turner has started six games at right tackle, four at right guard and three at left tackle. Lucas Patrick has made 10 starts at right guard and four at left guard.

LaFleur said Friday that this is the best offensive line group Ive been around. The depth of that line now will face its biggest test after losing its standout player.

Theres going to be nobodys thats feeling sorry for us as a football team, LaFleur said. And our standards, our expectations, they dont change. And so, were very fortunate to have a lot of depth at that position and the versatility of guys that can play multiple spots. So well lean on that, well rally around each other and, you know, were going to make the best of it.

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