Packers remain cautiously optimistic about returning trio of injured All-Pros

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  • Green Bay Packers
    Green Bay Packers
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
  • Jaire Alexander
    Jaire Alexander
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  • David Bakhtiari
    David Bakhtiari
    American football offensive lineman
  • Za'Darius Smith
    Za'Darius Smith
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  • Matt LaFleur
    Matt LaFleur
    American football coach

The Green Bay Packers remain cautiously optimistic about the potential return of three different All-Pro players over the final stretch of the regular season.

In fact, coach Matt LaFleur said the team could “potentially” have cornerback Jaire Alexander, left tackle David Bakhtiari and outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith back on the practice field as soon as this week.

“Certainly, we hope so. Those guys are doing everything in their power. We’ll see where we’re at on Wednesday,” LaFleur said Monday.

Alexander has been out since Week 4 with a shoulder injury, Bakhtiari hasn’t played all season while recovering from a torn ACL, and Smith hasn’t played since Week 1 after having back surgery.

Getting back three star players at premium positions could help supercharge the Packers’ Super Bowl run.

LaFleur said the Packers have individual plans for each player to return to the field.

“We just want to make sure there’s no extra risk for a setback. Obviously, they are an important part of this team,” LaFleur said. “If we can get these guys back, there’s certainly no guarantees with that, but we’re hopeful we can get each of those guys back.”

LaFleur and the Packers will return to the practice field on Wednesday. Green Bay hosts the Chicago Bears on Sunday.

Bakhtiari is already on the 53-man roster and can practice anytime. Smith and Alexander are on injured reserve and need to be designated for return, which would open up a 21-day window for returning to the roster.

The Packers have five more games to play during the regular season but will almost certainly make the postseason. Green Bay can clinch the NFC North title with a Minnesota Vikings loss and a win over the Chicago Bears this week.

List

Ranking Packers' injured All-Pros hoping to return in 2021