David Bakhtiari’s torn ACL in practice last December proved to be a crushing blow to Green Bay’s Super Bowl hopes. Without the All-Pro left tackle, Tampa Bay’s defense swarmed quarterback Aaron Rodgers and racked up five sacks on their way to a win in the NFC Championship Game. That’s why an update from general manager Brian Gutekunst Monday on Bakhtiari’s recovery likely made fans and his teammates smile.
“All the reports are fantastic,” Gutekunst said. “I know when he left (Green Bay) he was way ahead of schedule. We have a lot of confidence in David and the way he takes care of his body, how hard he works, how important it is to him, what a professional he is. He’s going to be on target with all of that stuff.”
Though it’s far from an indication of where he is physically, Bakhtiari did look pretty good while shadow boxing with Rodgers earlier this month.
“Trouble in Green Bay as MVP quarterback and franchise left tackle throw punches at each other during offseason” pic.twitter.com/8uqJgUB9fT
Gutekunst said they won’t be reckless with Bakhtiari’s health, knowing his importance to what they want to do as a team.
“He’s obviously an impactful person, so not having him out there certainly isn’t good for us,” Gutekunst said. “We’re going to make sure we do the right thing as we go through his rehab and protect him a little bit from himself, because he’s a grinder and he’s going to push himself as hard as he can to get back.”
Still, is there is a chance he could return by the beginning of the season?
“Nothing would shock me with him,” Gutekunst said. “He’s a unique individual. He’s different than most with how he attacks things, his mentality, so nothing would shock me with David.”