Packers All-Pro tackle Bakhtiari to open season on PUP list

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The Green Bay Packers won’t have David Bakhtiari for the start of the season as the All-Pro left tackle continues his recovery from a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

Bakhtiari’s agent, Mark Humenik, confirmed Tuesday that Bakhtiari will begin the season on the physically unable to perform list. The designation means Bakhtiari won’t be available for at least the first six weeks.

That leaves reigning MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers without the player who has protected his blind side for the last nine seasons. The Packers must adapt without one of the game’s top blockers.

NFL Network first reported that Bakhtiari would open the season on the PUP list.

Bakhtiari, who tore his left ACL in a Dec. 31 practice, earned All-Pro honors in 2018 and 2020 and was a second-team selection in 2016, 2017 and 2019.

The 2013 fourth-round pick from Colorado said in training camp he wasn’t setting a timetable on his return.

The Packers have adjusted to Bakhtiari’s absence by shifting Pro Bowl left guard Elgton Jenkins to left tackle during training camp. Lucas Patrick, who made 11 starts at right guard and four at left guard last season, started at left guard during the Packers’ preseason finale at Buffalo last weekend.

Green Bay could be opening the regular season with two rookie starters on the offensive line. Josh Myers, a second-round pick from Ohio State, has been the first-team center throughout training camp. Royce Newman, a fourth-round selection, started the final two preseason games at right guard.

Green Bay has road games against New Orleans, San Francisco, Cincinnati and Chicago plus home matchups with Detroit and Pittsburgh during the first six weeks of the season.

Bakhtiari missed four regular-season games last year with broken ribs and then sat out both of the Packers’ playoff contests after tearing his ACL. The Packers’ offensive line performed well in his absence until the NFC championship game, when it allowed five sacks in a loss to Tampa Bay.

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Steve Megargee, The Associated Press

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