GREEN BAY – Head Coach Matt LaFleur confirmed on Monday the Packers have lost offensive lineman Elgton Jenkins for the season to a knee injury.
Jenkins, who had been filling in the bulk of the year at left tackle during David Bakhtiari's recovery from ACL surgery, injured the knee in the fourth quarter Sunday while blocking Vikings safety Harrison Smith on a blitz.
"It's unfortunate," LaFleur said. "Certainly Elgton's been a big part of this team and still is a big part of this team. But he just won't be out there with us."
The timing of Bakhtiari's return remains uncertain, with LaFleur indicating the five-time All-Pro would miss his second straight week of practice. His situation will be re-evaluated after the Packers' upcoming bye week, which follows this Sunday's home game vs. the L.A. Rams.
So the job of protecting quarterback Aaron Rodgers' blind side falls to Yosh Nijman until further notice. Nijman played three games earlier this season (Weeks 3-5) at left tackle while Jenkins was out with an ankle injury.
"Yosh has been playing some good ball for us," LaFleur said. "Eventually we'll get David back, I think, and we'll just handle it week to week.
"It certainly isn't for a lack of work ethic on his part. It's not for a lack of toughness. It's just one of those things where you never quite know how everybody's going to respond to the recovery process, and I think that's just where we're at with him."
With Bakhtiari, Jenkins and rookie center Josh Myers (knee) all currently out, the Packers are missing three-fifths of the starting offensive line they planned on having at some point this season. Only Jenkins has been ruled out for the season, however. As with Bakhtiari, no timeline has been divulged regarding Myers.
For Nijman, the three earlier starts were the first of his career. Undrafted out of Virginia Tech in 2019, the 6-7, 314-pounder spent most of his rookie season on the practice squad and made the active roster last season, playing mostly on special teams.
When he was first inserted into the lineup, having to face star San Francisco pass rusher Nick Bosa in his debut, Nijman was given help in pass protection via chip blocks from tight ends and running backs a fair amount.
The more he played in the ensuing games, the less that help was required, so Nijman already has a solid foundation under him as he resumes his substitute role.
"I think every time a guy goes out there and is able to perform at a high level, you just see their confidence build, and I think that is so important in this game," LaFleur said.
"Yosh has all the traits you look for in an offensive lineman. He's big, he's athletic, he can bend, he's strong, powerful, everything. It's just about putting it all together on a consistent basis."