David Bakhtiari said he’s been “optimistic” each week he could play, yet the Green Bay Packers starting left tackle has missed three straight games.
So it’s hard to predict whether this week will be different, but it started with a positive sign. For the first time since his ankle injury Dec. 20 at Oakland, Bakhtiari practiced during periods open to the media. He participated in a light jog-through as well as individual drills during the media window.
Bakhtiari had no interest in speaking about his ankle. Better not to feed the opponent information. In a genuinely humorous exchange with the media, Bakhtiari swatted every question he could.
Does his ankle feel ready?
“It feels good,” he said.
What more needs to happen between now and game day for him to be on the field?
“Today’s Wednesday, so Thursday, Friday. Three more days.”
What needs to happen in those three days?
“Three days to happen.”
So the sun will rise, and Bakhtiari will feel better?
“Yeah,” he said, “pretty much.”
On and on it went.
Of course, it’s not that simple. Bakhtiari will need to be able to perform all the movements required for a left tackle. Kick step. Anchor. Sidestep laterally. The position can be abusive on a bad ankle.
“We’ll see how he comes out of (practice),” coach Mike McCarthy said.
There’s no doubt Bakhtiari’s potential return could give the Packers a significant boost when they travel to the Arizona Cardinals for their NFC divisional playoff game Saturday night. The Packers lost by 30 points in Arizona three weeks ago, their most lopsided defeat with Aaron Rodgers as starting quarterback.
The Packers allowed nine sacks, eight against quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Two of those were strip-sacks the Cardinals returned for touchdowns.
Bakhtiari said he’s treated his injury as “day by day” since it happened. At this point, he’s been unable to play for quite a few days. Yes, he said, it’s been frustrating.
Maybe this is the week. Maybe not. If Bakhtiari knows, he’s not saying. One thing is clear: he’d like to play already.
“Mentally,” Bakhtiari said, “I just want to go, want to go, want to go. Physically, sometimes they say your eyes are bigger than your stomach, and you want to eat a lot more food than you really can. So, I think it’s the same thing. I want to play. I want to go out and play, but sometimes you really need to take a step back and take yourself out and go, ‘Can you? Is this really working with X, Ys and Zs. Is the equation really going to work?’ So for me, it’s really day by day.
“It’s been frustrating when my mind wants to go, but your body is inhibiting you, whether it’s this injury or other injuries that happen. I mean, injuries suck. That’s the bottom line.”
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