Packers placing Za’Darius Smith on Injured Reserve

Published: Sep. 17, 2021 at 12:37 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WSAW) -The Packers will place Za’Darius Smith, their most productive edge rusher, on injured reserve with a nagging back injury. Head coach Matt LaFleur announced the imminent move at his pre-practice press conference. The move means Smith will miss at least three weeks and is eligible to return any time after that.

The Packers sack leader the last two seasons has been dealing with the injury since at least the start of training camp, and only logged one full practice the entire summer. He practiced twice in the week leading up to the opener against the Saints, but played just 18 snaps and was a relative non-factor.

“We’re going to have to shut him down for a while,” LaFleur said. “Do you keep him in a limited or do you shut him down for a while and try to get him up to the snap count we’d like him to be.”

Za’Darius Smith’s absence means the duo of Preston Smith and Rashan Gary will handle most of the edge rush duties until he comes back.

The Packers are reportedly signing outside linebacker Ladarius Hamilton off the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ practice squad to take Smith’s place on the roster, according to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

LaFleur also said the team is “hopeful” Smith will return at some point this season.

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