Injuries may force left tackle David Bakhtiari to sit out this week
GREEN BAY — Not only are the Green Bay Packers facing an uphill (some might say insurmountable) climb toward the playoffs and long odds (some might say impossible) against them winning their final five games, but they might have to do it without All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari.
Bakhtiari joined the Packers’ lengthy list of casualties when he left Sunday night’s 24-17 loss to the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium with injuries to each knee and an ankle.
“He’s got a couple things going on,” coach Mike McCarthy said when he addressed reporters on Monday afternoon.
Bakhtiari was undergoing tests Monday to determine the extent of the injuries, but ESPN reported that there is some optimism Bakhtiari might be able to play Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals at Lambeau Field.
Speaking after the game Sunday night, Bakhtiari wouldn’t discuss the specifics of his injuries, which knocked him out of the game during the fourth quarter and sidelined him again after he initially returned to the field for a subsequent offensive possession.
“I got nicked up with something and went to the sideline, talked it over (with the medical staff), tried to heat it up and go back out there. Then something else goes awry and that’s what really ended up keeping me from going back out there,” Bakhtiari said. “It’s frustrating.”
The Packers also lost left guard Lane Taylor (quadriceps) during the game, along with oft-injured safety Kentrell Brice, who hurt his chronically troublesome left ankle but managed to return to the game — only to be forced back to the sideline by a concussion. Returner Trevor Davis also left with a hamstring injury and didn’t return.
The team already was without wide receiver Randall Cobb (hamstring), who missed his sixth game in the past eight weeks; cornerback Kevin King (hamstring), who missed his third straight game and fifth overall; outside linebacker Nick Perry (knee), who was placed on injured reserve Saturday after playing much of the season on an ankle injury; and defensive lineman Mike Daniels (foot), who was in a cast and using a scooter on Friday and might be headed for IR, too.
When the Packers would win late-season road games — especially prime-time games — McCarthy would often reward them with “Victory Monday,” which gave the players an extra day off in addition to their usual Tuesday off day. But with the team having yet to win on the road this season, having fallen to 0-6 away from Lambeau Field, there’s been no such thing this season.
That led to McCarthy giving the players a light day on Monday, following the team’s third prime-time loss in less than a month. Players did have to report to Lambeau Field.
“That’s part of it,” McCarthy replied when asked if his team needed a mental and physical break. “I think these Sunday night games are taxing, no doubt. Obviously the game (Sunday) night was a very physical football game. We have a lot of guys that are beat up, a lot of guys there’s going to be extra time, sorting through exactly what we need to get done over the next 48 hours to really set our plan for Wednesday.”
Owning their mistakes
Speaking after the game, second-year safety Josh Jones acknowledged he did not play well, having missed several key tackles.
“I played like (expletive), man. Excuse my language, but I can’t play like that,” Jones said. “I’m not going to hide from what I did. It’s completely unacceptable. You guys have seen me make plenty of tackles. That’s what I do in my game. I don’t know what it was but I just wasn’t on with my open-field tackling.”
It’s unclear whether Davis’ hamstring injury, which dates back to the offseason, is severe enough to end his season, but defensive back Tramon Williams acknowledged he can’t make a mistake like he did when he was hit by a short fourth-quarter punt while serving as Davis’ replacement.
The Vikings, ahead 24-14 at the time, didn’t turn the gaffe into points, but only because coach Mike Zimmer eschewed a field goal attempt.
“It’s one of those things where you just can’t make that mistake at that point of the game,” said Williams, who also fumbled a punt against Miami two weeks ago. “You just can’t make those mistakes and expect to win a game like that. Especially when you want to be able to win. I take all responsibility for that.”