David Bakhtiari said his injured ankle wasn’t “game ready” Sunday night, and he doesn’t know when it will be.
The Green Bay Packers left tackle missed his second straight game when his ankle forced him to the sideline against the Minnesota Vikings. The Packers lost 20-13 to the Vikings at Lambeau Field, snapping their streak of four straight NFC North titles.
Bakhtiari held out hope he could play last week. He worked through drills with offensive line coach James Campen on the field during pregame warmups and offered high-fives on his way back to the locker room. Ultimately, Bakhtiari said, he was told his ankle wasn’t healthy enough to play.
“I think they probably discussed it after I was asked to do the drills,” Bakhtiari said. “So I just did the drills necessary, and I think they came back here and discussed it.”
Bakhtiari, who started the first 35 games of his career, missed practice Wednesday and Thursday of last week. He said he was a limited participant in Saturday’s practice. The Packers return to the practice field Wednesday, and Bakhtiari would not say whether he expects to participate.
Bakhtiari also wouldn’t say whether he could have played Sunday had it been a playoff game. Win or lose, the Packers were guaranteed a trip to the postseason. The benefit of Bakhtiari’s absence is a better chance to be on the field Sunday when the Packers travel to Washington for the NFC Wild Card round.
Coach Mike McCarthy said it was a medical decision to inactive Bakhtiari against the Vikings, but the impending playoffs were also considered.
“The medical process,” McCarthy said, “is such that if Dr. McKenzie doesn’t feel the player can totally protect himself – and obviously you evaluate that by position and person and particularly the injury – then it’s a no-go. That’s the starter. Obviously, with this game behind it, it’s definitely part of the formula.”
Bakhtiari’s importance on the field has been highlighted the past two weeks. The former fourth-round pick has allowed three sacks during his third season with the Packers.
In the past two weeks, replacements Don Barclay (four) and Josh Sitton (two) have combined to allow six sacks from the left tackle position. Three of those have been strip-sack fumbles the defense returned for a touchdown.
Sitton, the Packers’ top offensive lineman, clearly was a better fit at left tackle than Barclay. Bakhtiari said he was impressed with how his teammate handled a difficult transition Sunday night, but he also knows the importance of returning to the field.
“I just want to get back out there and play,” Bakhtiari said. “I love playing. I really enjoy working with the guys. It’s just not fun sitting back and watching everyone. I like being out there with the guys, getting a little bit of work.”
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