Za’Darius Smith will remain out of the Packers lineup longer than initially hoped.
The standout pass-rusher is expected to be sidelined for an extended period of time after undergoing back surgery this week, NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo and NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Friday.
Smith’s lingering back issue, which dates back to training camp, limited his availability against the Saints in Week 1 (18 snaps played). He was eventually placed on injured reserve on Sept. 17.
When Smith was shut down last month, the team viewed the possibility of the 29-year-old being available to play after missing the required three weeks of action. His surgery has now pushed that recovery window into indefinite territory, though the team remains optimistic that the injury isn’t season-ending.
The Packers’ pass rush has sorely missed the two-time Pro Bowler’s presence early in the 2021 season. Led by Smith’s running mate Preston Smith, Green Bay has amassed just four total sacks over three weeks.
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