Former Kentucky LB placed on injured reserve by Packers
After being slowed during the preseason, Za’Darius Smith is again have back trouble that is going to cause him to miss some extended time.
On Friday, Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur announced to the media that Smith is being placed on injured reserve, which requires him to miss at least 3 games. Smith played in the Packers’ season-opening loss to the New Orleans Saints, but that will be his last action for a while.
Smith had only 1 tackle to begin his third season in Green Bay, but the former Kentucky linebacker has been a strong player during his tenure with the team.
“We’re going to have to shut him down for a while,” LaFleur told reporters, including Ryan Wood of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. “It’s a matter of, do just you keep him in a limited role, or do you shut him down for a while, get him healthy, and get him up to the snap count that you’d like him to be.”
After spending a pair of seasons at Kentucky from 2013-14, Smith was taken by the Baltimore Ravens in the fourth round of the 2015 NFL Draft. He played 4 seasons with them, then signed with the Packers ahead of the 2019 season.
Over his first 2 seasons in Green Bay, Smith had 76 tackles and 26 sacks while playing in all 32 games during that span.
While the Packers will look to bounce back in their home opener against the Detroit Lions on Monday night, the earliest that Smith could possibly return is to the team is by mid-October.