Green Bay Packers outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith (55) during Packers Family Night at Lambeau Field, Saturday, Aug. 7, 2021, in Green Bay, Wis. Samantha Madar/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin
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Green Bay Packers outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith underwent surgery this week.
Two weeks ago the Green Bay Packers placed outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith on the injured reserved list with a back injury. It was then reported that he would be shut down for a while and that was confirmed today with the report that Smith underwent surgery for the injury this week. The team is hoping that Smith will be able to return later in the season.
#Packers LB Za’Darius Smith underwent back surgery this week, sources tell me and @RapSheet. He’s expected to be out an extended period of time, though the hope is it’s not a season-ending situation.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) October 1, 2021
Za’Darius Smith to miss time after back surgery
Losing a player of Smith’s caliber will be tough for Green Bay as they try to replace his production. Smith made the Pro Bowl in 2019 and 2020 and was second-team All-pro last season. He finished the 2020 season with12.5 sacks, 52 tackles and 23 quarterback hits.
With Smith only playing in the opening game, third-year player Rashawn Gary has filled in for him. The Packers have struggled defensively through the first few weeks of the season. After giving up 322 yards and 38 points to the New Orleans Saints in Week 1, they allowed the San Francisco 49ers to score 28 points with 298 total yards in Week 3.
In Week 4, Green Bay plays a struggling Pittsburgh Steelers team. It will be an opportunity for the Packers defense to find a rhythm. Even with a slow defensive start, the offense has been clicking over the last two weeks scoring 30 or better in both games. They currently sit atop the NFC North with the rest of the division struggling. Green Bay has a good chance to repeat as division champions and if everything goes according to plan, Smith will be able to join them late as they gear up for the playoffs.