Unless you just rose from a coma and logged on to PackersTalk.com, you’re likely aware of the absence of David Bakhtiari. The star Left Tackle has only played one game for the Green Bay Packers since December 2020 due to an ACL injury.
The recovery has been a very long and frustrating road for the great Offensive Lineman. Best wishes were given to him in his first year of recovery. Of course, everyone was disappointed he couldn’t return in 2021, but mostly understood. Now here we are in 2022 with Bakhtiari still not playing, fans are now getting restless, and beginning to turn on ole number 69.
I’ve seen the comments everywhere.
“He’s fleecing the Packers for all they’re worth”
“If he has no drive to play, he should just retire”
“Obviously he has too fragile of an ego to play again, we should cut him”
“Take off your diaper and go play already”
These types of comments don’t come from Packers fans. They come from arrogant people that have no idea what it takes to return from an injury of this type. Rest assured; David Bakhtiari is angrier about it than you are. And he cannot wait to get back on the field.
So, what’s taken so long?
David Bakhtiari revealed in an interview with CheeseheadTV’s Aaron Nagler a bit of his long road to return. Bakhtiari noted that this wasn’t just a clean isolated ACL tear that’s commonly seen in the league. He also had ripped up cartilage in the area as well and has had a lot of fluid build-up in his knee post-surgery. The knee itself, is structurally sound. But the fluid buildup caused inflammation in the joint, and it was just uncomfortable. David stated that they drained his knee 15 times throughout the season, with almost four ounces of fluid removed from his knee each time. The doctors weren’t going to let him play like that.
Team Doctor, Dr. Pat McKenzie, made it clear that he wasn’t to play football on it, they wanted him for three years, not three games. There’s no mental hurdle 69 is trying to get over, he just needs time.
Enough with the slander
So now I turn to the fans. I know it’s a very vocal minority. But it’s time for the loud mouths to knock it off. For seven years, David Bakhtiari has been a staple on the Packers Offensive Line. I would argue that he’s the best lineman the Packers have had in the last 20 years. Maybe even more. Bakhtiari will undoubtedly have his spot in the Packers Hall of Fame when his time comes. And I’m pretty sure everyone has loved his presence supporting the Milwaukee Bucks.
David Bakhtiari has given all he has to help this team win. If he thought he couldn’t play again, or didn’t want to play again, we wouldn’t see him on the practice field. He will return to the Packers lineup one day. If he needs more time to ensure that he’s 100%, so be it! I’d rather wait to have Bakhtiari playing at 100% with no risk to further injury, than see him return at maybe 80% only to damage his knee further and never play again.
Will it be this Sunday? Will it be next Sunday? We don’t know. But David Bakhtiari has earned his due. He deserves the patience he is being given to make sure he doesn’t suffer further. Most of all, he doesn’t owe the keyboard warriors anything.
Guaranteed when number 69 runs out onto Lambeau Field to play again, the noise will be deafening. And he deserves every bit of it.
Greg Meinholz is a 24/7/365 Packers fan. When he’s not spending time with his family, he can be found meditating in his Packers shrine with a good beer. You can follow him on twitter at @gmeinholz.