“We’re just going to look at it day by day,” said coach Matt LaFleur after making it clear that expectations need to be tempered. “There’s no thought about Week 1 at the moment. We just want to see how he reacts, and when he’s ready, he’s ready.”
Bakhtiari, 30, did not shy away from high expectations. He said the motivation is “extremely high” for him to return for the opener. “There are a lot of ambitious things I want to do,” he said. Of course Bakhtiari knows better than anyone how quickly high expectations can fade.
Last season Bakhtiari more than once thought he was back. He returned from PUP last November, but the scar tissue in his knee made it not feel normal. A second surgery was needed to repair cartilage damage. He returned from that surgery to play 27 snaps in the Packers final with the Detroit Lions, but even then he wasn’t quite back. The Packers shut him down before he lost in the playoffs to the San Francisco 49ers last year, and Bakhtiari needed a third surgery to remove scar tissue.
The third operation forced Bakhtiari to miss the Packers’ entire offseason schedule, placing him on PUP until Sunday.
“It’s a shame,” Bakhtiari said. “I’d like to sit here and say, ‘It was so fast. Everything is smooth. This is great.’ But there were a lot of unforeseen things that I had to go through, and it sucked. It sure exhausted me, but I know I’m not going to stop. I don’t care. You can keep going in there, we’ll keep the engine running hold, and start in gear one and go back to gear 6. If we stop in gear three, cool What’s wrong? Okay, cool Let’s go back.