GREEN BAY, Wis. – The Packers continue to win games and lose players. They did both again Thursday, when they beat the Arizona Cardinals but lost tight end Robert Tonyan and running back / kicker Kylin Hill.
Tonyan’s agent, Jack Bechta, tweeted On Friday his client sustained a clean ACL tear in his left knee, while sources told ESPN that Hill also suffered a season-ending knee injury.
Tonyan injured his knee at the end of a 33-yard reception late in the third quarter. It was one of the key plays in the series that gave the Packers a 24-14 lead en route to their 24-21 victory. He finished the game with three receptions for 49 yards.
Tonyan, a former undrafted free agent, ranks third for the Packers in receptions (18) and receiving yards (204) this season. Although he had only two touchdown receptions in eight games, his 13 touchdowns since the start of the 2020 season rank second among all tight ends in the NFL in that span.
His injury sounded serious immediately after the game, when Packers coach Matt LaFleur became emotional when asked about Tonyan.
“I’m sick for Bobby,” LaFleur said. “It means a lot to this team. It’s great, I just told him, to see a guy when you first come here and see how much progress he’s made as a player and the work he does on a daily basis. – It’s really cool when you watch. that progress and you see a man reach his potential. And I still think there is more to him. As for whether that’s long term, I don’t know, but I’m sick for him. I’m sick for us. My heart goes out to him. “.
The Packers have four other tight ends on their roster: Marcedes Lewis, Josiah Deguara, Dominique Dafney and Tyler Davis. Dafney came off the disabled list Thursday and played the Cardinals after missing five games due to a hip injury.
Hill, a rookie selected in the seventh round of the draft, suffered his injury in a violent collision with Cardinals running back Jonathan Ward, which resulted in both being thrown off the field.
They are two more in a long list of injuries that have plagued the Packers, although they have won seven straight games since losing their first game of the season. The Packers (7-1) are only the third team in the Super Bowl era to win seven straight games in a season immediately following a loss by 30 or more points. The 1994 49ers and 1976 Raiders won 10 in a row after such a loss and won the Super Bowl.
The Packers played without seven favorite starters, four of them Pro Bowlers or All-Pros, on Thursday. Among the players left out were left tackle David Bakhtiari, center Josh Myers and his top three wide receivers, Davante Adams, Márquez Valdés-Scantling and Allen Lazard, on offense, and outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith. cornerbacks Jaire Alexander and Kevin King. in defence.
It is unclear whether Alexander or Smith will be able to play again this season. Alexander opted to postpone shoulder surgery in hopes of being able to return before the end of the season, and while that remains the hope, it is not certain. Smith underwent back surgery after playing just 18 plays in the first game of the season and it seemed like a long shot to come back. However, l tweeted On Friday he was heading back to Green Bay after presumably rehabbing elsewhere and indicated he planned to play soon.
I just landed back on GreenBay‼ ️ Can’t wait to get back to the field with my brothers💪🏾💪🏾💪🏾 #GoPackGo
– Za’Darius Smith (@zadariussmith) October 29, 2021
There is also the possibility that Bakhtiari could be approved for the Nov. 7 game against the Kansas City Chiefs. He returned to practice last week for the first time since he tore his ACL in a Dec. 31 practice and could be removed from the list of physically unable to perform at any time.
Valdes-Scantling came close to returning Thursday, but the Packers opted to give him another week after he missed the last five games with a hamstring injury. King (shoulder) was questionable for the Cardinals game, and Myers (knee) has at least two more games on injured reserve before he can return.
Adams and Lazard will need to clear COVID-19 protocols before they can play.