LaFleur shares updates on Bakhtiari, Doubs, Rodgers and Jones ahead of Packers bye week

Kassidy Hill
Green Bay Press-Gazette
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The Green Bay Packers aren’t sure when left tackle David Bakhtiari might return to the field, according to coach Matt LaFleur. The Pro Bowl lineman had an emergency appendectomy Friday morning, effectively ruling him out for Sunday’s win against the Chicago Bears and possibly for weeks to come. 

"We'll see how he feels when we come back from the bye and see where he's at," LaFleur said Monday. "But from what I've been told, it could be a while, so we'll see where he's at."

According to Mount Sinai of New York, the recovery time for an appendectomy is two to four weeks, although "you can go back to your normal activities within a few weeks after leaving the hospital though it may take several weeks to get back to your normal energy level."

The Packers have a bye this upcoming weekend, but only four games remaining after the bye.

In Bakhtiari's absence – Sunday and in past weeks when the left tackle was dealing with a knee issue – the Packers have turned to rookie Zach Tom. LaFleur said Monday he's been encouraged by Tom's play and is confident if the offensive line must remain with the current lineup the remainder of the season.

"Zach is super reliable, which is really cool to see especially a rookie going in. It was nice that we had at least a little bit of time to prepare for it," LaFleur said. "Our line as a whole, I would say is progressing; the continuity is always a big deal there. But I thought Zach went in there and did a great job."

Romeo Doubs could be back from Rams game after bye

The news is more positive on rookie receiver Romeo Doubs, who has been out since injuring his ankle in Week 9 against the Detroit Lions. The Packers were optimistic he'd be able to play against the Bears, allowing him to go through pre-game warm-ups, before electing to keep him inactive for one more week. But LaFleur said Monday he thought they would get Doubs back against the Los Angeles Rams following the bye.

"He's doing everything he can," LaFleur said. "He's diligent about his rehab and just the process that you got to go through to get back, and I know he's definitely eager to be back out on the field and be able to contribute. So yeah, definitely excited to hopefully get him back in the fold."

Aaron Rodgers bounces back from rib injury

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers played Sunday's game with protective gear for the rib injury that knocked him out of the game against the Philadelphia Eagles the previous week.

After taking off from practice Wednesday, Rodgers was able to finish out the week and play against the Bears, going 18 for 31 for 182 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. The offensive line was also able to keep him protected, with no sacks and no quarterback hits.

"I think he held up pretty nicely," LaFleur said Monday. "So you know, he seemed to be in great spirits after the game, which is always a good sign, and you know, just my limited interaction with him today (Monday), he seemed to be doing well."

Aaron Jones injury appears OK; AJ Dillon stepped up

The Packers also seemed to avoid serious injury with running back Aaron Jones, who left Sunday's game periodically with a shin injury. Although Jones returned to the field more than once, as the game progressed, so did the pain, so the Packers sat Jones for much of the second half as a precaution, giving him only two touches.

Jones told PackersNews after the game that he could have re-entered the game if necessary.

"I could have definitely played,” Jones said. “But I think it was more so them looking out for me and taking care of me. Not wanting me to re-injure it since I've already injured it.”

On Monday, LaFleur elaborated on the decision and pointed to AJ Dillon's day (21 touches, 119 total yards and one touchdown) as the reason to keep Jones on the sideline.

"I think he'll (Jones) be in good shape," LaFleur said. "As a matter of fact, I talked to him a little bit today just about that scenario. And I know he's the ultimate competitor. He always wants to be in there and helping his teammates.

"But I just, the guy can take a beating now, and you always get a little concern when it's like, every series he's up, he's down, he's up, he's down. That happened a few times in the game where he was just working through getting landed on or whatever. And certainly, we're a much better football team when he is on the field and he's going as close to 100% as he can.

"But I thought AJ did a great job, kind of picking up the slack, running behind his pads. getting downhill. PT (Patrick Taylor) got a few snaps in there; the one rush he had, I thought he did a great job with that as well."

The Packers now head into a late-season bye week in which LaFleur is demanding his staff take some time away from 1265 Lombardi Avenue.

"I told the staff to get out of here. We'll reconvene on Monday," LaFleur said. "And what's great, I guess kind of what you learned is how easy it is to work when you're on the road, after especially the COVID year. So everybody's got projects. We're doing a lot of self scout and then getting ahead on some future opponents. But you know, I think we can we can work remotely."

Staff and players will return to the building next week, where they'll get an extra day to prepare for the Los Angeles Rams (3-9) before facing the NFC opponent Dec. 19 at Lambeau Field on "Monday Night Football."

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