Green Bay Packers edge pass rusher Za’Darius Smith reportedly cleared to return for the playoffs
GREEN BAY - The Green Bay Packers have a good chance of getting back edge pass rusher Za’Darius Smith for the playoffs.
According to a report by the NFL Network, Smith was cleared last week to return from back surgery performed in September, and the Packers will designate him to return from injured reserve this week. That means he can begin practicing this week, and if all goes well he’ll be ready to play in the Packers’ divisional-round playoff game in two weeks, according to the report.
Smith confirmed the report on Instagram, saying "Guess who's back."
Smith missed all but one day of training camp trying to rehabilitate his back injury but after playing in the regular-season opener had surgery. He’s been on injured reserve since.
Smith had 26 sacks in the last two seasons combined and was named second-team All-Pro in 2020.
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The Packers had another top player, tackle David Bakhtiari, return from a long injury layoff last week. Bakhtiari played 27 snaps against the Detroit Lions on Sunday after missing all season while recovering from ACL surgery. Cornerback Jaire Alexander appears poised to return from a shoulder injury this week also. He’s off IR and returned to practice last Friday after landing on the COVID list.