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Packers’ Matt LaFleur drops ‘hopeful’ update on Za’Darius Smith

packers, zadarius smith

The Green Bay Packers have been without star defensive end Za’Darius Smith since Week 1 of the regular season. Smith underwent back surgery that forced him to miss nearly the entire campaign for the Packers, but the team is hoping to have him back on the field for the Divisional Round matchup against the 49ers. Well, Matt LaFleur provided an update on both Smith and fellow injured star defender Jaire Alexander, suggesting he’s hopeful they can suit up on Saturday, via Rob Demovsky.

LaFleur told reporters that both Alexander and Smith would be practicing with the team on Tuesday and that he’s “hopeful” about getting them on the field on Saturday.

Getting Alexander and Smith back for the Divisional Round matchup would be a huge boost for the Packers’ defense. After getting an additional week of rest due to Green Bay’s first-round bye week, there’s a sense of optimism that the two will be cleared to play on Saturday.

LaFleur also provided an update on David Bakhtiari, who sat out of Tuesday’s practice for what the Packers’ head coach described as “load management.” LaFleur said he doesn’t envision there will be much of a concern surrounding Bakhtiari’s availability this weekend.

Alexander suffered a shoulder injury back in Week 4 and was placed on IR. He opted against getting surgery in order to attempt a late-season comeback, which could come to fruition on Saturday. Alexander made his first Pro Bowl in 2020 and recorded 51 tackles, one interception, 13 pass defenses, and 1.0 sacks across 15 games. Smith, on the other hand, recorded 52 tackles and 12.5 sacks in 16 games last year.