Packers will shut down OLB Za’Darius Smith due to lingering back injury

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The Green Bay Packers will be without edge rusher Za’Darius Smith for the foreseeable future.

Coach Matt LaFleur said the team is shutting down Smith so he can recover from a lingering back injury.

“Unfortunately, we’re going to have to shut him down for a while,” LaFleur said Friday.

Smith played only 18 snaps in Week 1 after missing most of training camp. He then missed Thursday’s practice. LaFleur said the decision came down to using Smith in a limited role or shutting him down to let him get back to 100 percent.

Smith will go on injured reserve, LaFleur confirmed. He will miss at least three games and possibly more.

Smith, a two-time Pro Bowler for the Packers, hasn’t missed a game since arriving in Green Bay in 2019.

“We want him more readily available,” LaFleur said.

The goal is to get Smith healthy so he can be a full-time player at some point later this season.

Rashan Gary and Preston Smith will play the majority of the snaps at edge rusher. LaFleur said the Packers are signing an edge rusher off a team’s practice squad this week but wouldn’t disclose the player.

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