Green Bay Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari is inactive vs. Washington Comanders

Ryan Wood
Green Bay Press-Gazette
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LANDOVER, Maryland − In a week when it looked like the Green Bay Packers would finally get to make necessary changes to their offensive line, David Bakhtiari's knee altered those plans.

Bakhtiari is inactive Sunday against the Washington Commanders. The two-time All-Pro left tackle was downgraded to questionable because of his knee on Saturday's injury report, a concerning development considering his difficulty returning from the field after tearing his ACL late in 2020.

Does his absence assure Yosh Nijman will start at left tackle for the second time this season? Throughout the week, the Packers appeared poised to move Nijman to right tackle for the first time this season, sliding Elgton Jenkins inside to guard. Will Jenkins will remain the team's starting right tackle against the Commanders?

In pregame warmups, the Packers had rookie Zach Tom at left tackle, Jenkins at left guard, Jon Runyan at right guard and Nijman at right tackle.

Green Bay Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari is inactive vs. Washington.

Bakhtiari's setback comes at a time the Packers were finally starting to exhale about the tenuous status of his availability. He played every snap of last week's loss against the New York Jets, the second time in three weeks Bakhtiari has played a full game. Midway through this week, offensive coordinator Adam Stenavich said it felt like Bakhtiari's had found a way to manage his knee.

"You definitely just know that he has his process," Stenavich said, "and the biggest thing for him − I'm sure he can tell you more about it − is just finding that groove about, 'How much I can practice and after I play, what's my knee going to be like, and how can I practice the next week.' I think he's found his groove there and is in a good place with that. So I definitely think as we keep going, we should see more and more positive things."

Part of Bakhtiari finding his groove meant more time on the field. Early this season, coach Matt LaFleur said Bakhtiari would not practice three days in a row this fall, even after he returned as a full-time player. Bakhtiari practiced three days in a row each of the past two weeks. The last practice he missed was Oct. 7, calling into question if the Packers pushed things too much with their left tackle.

The Packers’ patience paid off with receiver Sammy Watkins. The veteran is active Sunday after being activated from injured reserve Saturday. Watkins still has the Packers longest catch this season, a 55-yard reception Week 2 against the Chicago Bears. He felt “discomfort” in his hamstring during that game and was placed on IR after straining it during practice the following week.

Watkins, the first player the Packers have designated to return from IR this season, missed only the minimum four games.

Rookie receiver Christian Watson, outside linebacker Jonathan Garvin, offensive tackle Luke Tenuta and rookie defensive tackle Jonathan Ford join Bakhtiari as inactive. Garvin is a surprise, healthy scratch.

More:Here are our predictions for the Green Bay Packers' game against the Washington Commanders

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