Packers: LB Za’Darius Smith reportedly out ‘extended period of time’ following back surgery

The Green Bay Packers won’t have the services of linebacker Za’Darius Smith anytime soon and possibly not again this season.

According to the NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, the two-time Pro Bowl selection underwent back surgery this week and is out indefinitely. He reports the team is hopeful the surgery isn’t season-ending.

Smith missed all but one practice of training camp and then was used sparingly in the Week 1 loss to the New Orleans Saints. The team decided to shut him down for awhile, placing him on injured reserve.

When healthy, Smith has been a major factor for the Packers defense. He led the team in sacks in each of the last two years totaling 26. He also had five forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries while starting all 36 games.

Without Smith, the Packers will continue to rely on outside linebackers Preston Smith and Rashan Gary, along with younger players like Jonathan Garvin and Chauncey Rivers, to get some pressure on the quarterback.