A football team dealing with numerous injuries usually means press conferences filled with injury-related questions. Just ask Green Bay Packers coach Matt LaFleur.
On Monday, LaFleur answered questions and provided injury updates for several important players, including rookie center Josh Myers, cornerback Kevin King, edge rusher Preston Smith and All-Pros David Bakhtiari and Jaire Alexander.
Here’s a rundown of LaFleur’s updates coming out of Sunday’s win over the Bears:
C Josh Myers
Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin
Injury: Knee (suffered vs. CHI)
LaFleur: “Most likely yes.”
What it means: LaFleur’s short answer was in response to a question about Myers missing a couple of future games. He injured his knee on the fourth play from scrimmage on Sunday, but the Packers don’t think it’s a season-ending injury. Expect Myers to be out on Sunday against the Washington Football Team, and Lucas Patrick to start again at center. It’s possible Myers could go on injured reserve, opening a roster spot for Ben Braden to be elevated from the practice squad.
LT David Bakhtiari
Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin
Injury: Knee, ACL (suffered 12/31/2020)
LaFleur: “I would anticipate David being out there for practice. Time will tell whether or not we put him in a position to suit up for us (this week)…Certainly, when you’re coming off a significant injury, you don’t want to just throw someone out there. We want to make sure, number one, that physically, his knee is in great shape and he’s not at further risk of doing more damage to it. And there’s a confidence factor you develop by just playing football, whether it’s in practice, so there is a ramp-up period.”
Translation: The Packers will be patient with Bakhtiari, who is recovering from ACL surgery. He’s eligible to come off the PUP list this week and begin practicing again, and it sounds like that’s the early plan. He could be back on the field on Wednesday, but playing Sunday against the Washington Football Team is far from a guarantee. He may need longer than a week of practice to get ready to play in a game. It’s possible Week 8 vs. the Cardinals is the goal for his return.
CB Kevin King
(AP Photo/Emilee Chinn)
Injury: Shoulder (suffered vs. CIN)
LaFleur: “It’s something that’s getting better every day. He’s working hard at it, we’ll see where he’s at. It’s more day to day.”
What it means: LaFleur confirmed King wouldn’t be going on injured reserve, meaning the Packers think he’ll be back within the three-week window of short-term injured reserve. It even sounds possible he could return this week. The Packers are short-handed at cornerback and would welcome back a starter at the position, although LaFleur was happy with Rasul Douglas’ debut with the team on Sunday.
CB Jaire Alexander
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Injury: Shoulder (suffered vs. PIT)
LaFleur: “I can’t 100 percent rule that out (surgery), but we feel like it is progressing nicely. It’s a constant thing that we’re always rescanning, if you will, and making sure we are getting the right opinions to help Jaire out and put him in the best possible position.”
What it means: This sounds like really good news. The Packers put off surgery hoping Alexander’s shoulder injury would heal enough without intervention. So far, so good. The more it heals, the less chance of needing surgery and ending his season. LaFleur said there is a window for deciding on surgery, but he wasn’t sure of the specifics of it.
OLB Preston Smith
(AP Photo/Zach Bolinger)
Injury: Oblique (suffered vs. CHI)
LaFleur: “We’ll see how he’s feeling this week. I know he’s definitely motivated to want to play, but we have to make sure he’s not putting himself at further risk of injury and be out a longer period of time. So we want to make sure he’s good to go.”
What it means: Smith exited the game Sunday and didn’t return. He has never missed a game in his NFL career, but the Packers sound prepare to be cautious with his return. LaFleur is already dealing with a long-term injury to Za’Darius Smith, and they don’t want this new injury for Preston to turn into a more significant one. It’s possible the Packers will give him the entire week before making a decision on his playing status.
(AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
LaFleur did not have a timeline immediately available on Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who is eligible to come off injured reserve this week. He is dealing with a hamstring injury first suffered against the 49ers.
LaFleur also did not field a question on starting safety Darnell Savage, who exited Sunday’s game with a concussion in the second half. He will enter the league’s concussion protocol.