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Anchors of Packers' OL easing back into full practice

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Anchors of Packers' OL easing back into full practice

-- The Green Bay Packers' offensive line is getting healthy again at just the right time.

When starting left tackle David Bakhtiari suffered what was only diagnosed as an ankle injury at Family Night last week, some uncertainty lingered on the side of the offensive line that he typically anchors.

The Packers already have Bryan Bulaga -- the starting right tackle opposite Bakhtiari -- practicing in limited fashion en route to fully recovering from a torn ACL suffered last November.

However, both linemen practiced on Sunday, the first practice following the Packers' win Thursday night to open the preseason.

"I felt good," Bulaga said on Sunday, via Packers.com. "It’s good to get out and do work in pads against defenders. It’s one thing doing individuals, it’s one thing doing work on the side, that’s all good stuff and it’s all necessary steps. But to do padded work, to go against live action, it’s a step and it feels good to get back out there and do that stuff."

Just prior to the nine-month anniversary of his injury, Bulaga was activated off of the physically unable to perform list on August 3. He passed his physical and was officially cleared to practice, preparing for his first live game action.

Whether that action comes within the next three preseason games or the Packers shelf Bulaga until the September 9 season opener, which the team feels optimistic he'll be ready for, remains to be seen.

"I said it a few weeks ago I’m optimistic about it," Bulaga said. "I feel like it’s an attainable goal. It’s something that we’re working up to. Like I was saying earlier it’s not something you just jump right back into doing a full workload of team reps and the next day you’re all sore and swollen and then you can’t do any work."

Bakhtiari, on the other hand, practiced in pads on Sunday for the first time since his injury over a week earlier. He was carted off the field during the Packers' live scrimmage, offering a glimpse of one body along the offensive line the Packers couldn't afford to lose.

Not only does Bakhtiari protect the blindside of quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who simultaneously serves as the cornerstone of the franchise, but he's proven to be one of the best pass-protecting tackles in the league the last few seasons. He's also one of the most valuable players on the Packers' roster.

"Today was a good day," Bakhtiari said of his return to practice. "Just wanted to see the progression obviously. They didn’t want to put me in right away, but everything felt good."

Bakhtiari was practicing in pads, but according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN, he was "very limited" in his return. There's a good possibility his work at left tackle will be passed off to Kyle Murphy, their sixth-round draft pick from 2016 who played at both tackle positions last season.

"Training room obviously has a plan for me but upping my workload trying to get me back in. Not trying to throw me back in and have something bad happen to go from no practice to full practice. Just taking it step by step today was a good day, so we’ll see tomorrow what they’ll have me do."

Bakhtiari has missed six games in a five-year career since being drafted by the Packers in the fourth round in 2013. The regular season opener isn't in jeopardy, but getting some preseason reps under his belt likely is.

"If it was going to happen, I’m happy it happened now. That I got time and I can prolong to take care of it. If it’s going to happen, let it happen now. If it happened during the season, I have to deal with it, go out there potentially limping around while playing a game."

__________________________

Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV. He's the voice of The Leap on iTunes and can be heard on The Scoop KLGR 1490 AM every Saturday morning. He's also a contributor on the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (5) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

PatrickGB's picture

I am glad that they’re back. But what’s the deal with Spriggs? Bell sucked and Murphy is just a guy, but better than expected. And what’s the deal with Cole?
Too many questions behind our starters. So having our starters back and healthy is key for AR’s health and our offense.

DD's picture

OL behind the starters is not very good. If our starters get hurt, we are screwed.

DD's picture

Our backup QBs with their experience are average. Keep Boyle, it won't hurt us much.

DD's picture

I watched the Packers and Vikings first preseason games. The vikes look much better at this point. My hypothesis: MM is average at motivating coaches and players. Kept Thompdon and Capers to long, as have we with MM now. You'll all be screaming for his head after the first two games! Truth be told.

PAPackerbacker's picture

Good that the OL is healthy at the right time. The key to success is remaining healthy throughout the season. And having good depth for the OL is another.

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