Packers Get Bad News With Latest Za'Darius Smith Injury Update
The start of the 2021 NFL season didn't go the way that the Green Bay Packers had planned when they lost, 38-3, to the New Orleans Saints in Week 1. Unfortunately, things have gotten worse as they'll be without outside linebacker Za'Darius Smith for at least the next three weeks.
Packers head coach Matt LaFleur told reporters after practice on Friday that the team placed Smith on the injured reserve due to back issues. The former University of Kentucky product had only practice once during training camp before being held to 18 snaps in last week's loss.
Za'Darius Smith Injury Update
LaFleur said that the team would prefer to have Smith back when they know he's 100% and ready rather than rushing him. After all, the last thing they'd want to do is worsen the situation surrounding one of their best linebackers.
"It’s a matter of do you keep [Smith] in a limited role or do you shut him down for a while and try to get him healthy and get him up to the snap count that we’d like him to be and just like he’s been in the past because he’s such an impact player."- Matt LaFleur
The former fourth-round pick made his second Pro Bowl in as many seasons last year while also being named second-team All-Pro for the first time in his career. He started in all 16 games for the Packers in 2020, finishing with 52 total tackles, 12.5 sacks and 4 forced fumbles. Losing a player of his caliber will hurt regardless of how long he's sidelined.
The Packers also announced that they have signed first-year OLB Ladarius Hamilton to their 53-man roster after he had been a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers practice squad. The 23-year-old spent four seasons playing college football for North Texas, recording 122 total tackles, 16.0 sacks and an interception during that span.
The Packers will look to turn their season around without Smith as they take on the Detroit Lions in this Week 2's Monday Night Football matchup. The Packers are the heavy -620 moneyline favorites, according to FanDuel Sportsbook, while the Lions are +460 underdogs on the road.
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Devon Platana is not a FanDuel employee. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.