“I don’t know when we’ll get Z back” Za’Darius Smith battles back injury

Training Camp Report

Green Bay Packers’ Za’Darius Smith celebrates after sacking Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff (16) during the first half of an NFL divisional playoff football game, Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

GREEN BAY, Wis (WFRV) – Concern is mounting at 1265 Lombardi Ave when it comes to outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith.

Coming off another 12 sack season, the veteran linebacker has been absent from almost all of training camp. He was activated off the NFI list on Monday but then didn’t practice later on in the week.

“I’m not sure when we’ll get Z back. He’s injured right now. I know he wants to be out there but we just have to take it slow with him,” Packers head coach Matt LaFleur said in his Sunday press conference with the media. “It is a concern.”

He went on to say that there is a possibility Smith could miss the season opener against New Orleans.

Outside linebacker coach Mike Smith said Smith didn’t suffer a setback, just a flareup with his back.

“He’s eager to get out there, he just needs to take his time and get ready and not have any setbacks,” Smith said.

There had been some rumblings early in the off season that Smith was upset with how his contract was restructured. Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst quickly squashed that.

“With this specific thing, he’s got an injury that we’re working through,” Gutekunst said.

The Packers open the 2021 season on the road against the New Orleans Saints on September 12.

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