The ACL injury is one of the most significant and difficult injuries in all of sports. When an NFL offensive lineman suffers an ACL tear, it could be career-altering. The case could be made that offensive linemen put more stress on their legs than any other player because of the strength and power they generate from their lower half in order to protect the quarterback. This is why the return and overall comeback of Packers Pro Bowl Guard Elgton Jenkins is huge news.
The former Mississippi State star tore his ACL in Week 11 of last season against the Minnesota Vikings in late November. He took the field for his first team practice on Monday. In other words, his ACL recovery took less than nine months, which is ridiculous. There are certain players who take over a full year to recover from an ACL tear or who don’t return to top form ever again. The Green Bay Packers know all about that with their All-Pro Left Tackle David Bakhtiari, who is still returning from his torn ACL he suffered on New Year’s Eve in 2020. But the return of Elgton Jenkins in such a short time from this kind of injury is incredible. Standing at 6-5 and weighing over 310 lbs, Jenkins definitely needs his knees to be at full strength. They nearly are. His return is a big welcome sight for the Packers franchise.
Heading into 2022, Jenkins is one of the most versatile and athletic offensive linemen in the sport. He can play all five positions along the interior. Before he got injured last season, he started at left tackle for Bakhtiari while he was sidelined last season with his own ACL tear. But in the team’s practice period on Monday, Jenkins played right tackle. Until Bakhtiari returns, it appears as though the four-year veteran will be playing at the tackle position. Regardless of where he is playing along the line, Green Bay is a much better team with him healthy. Once he and Bakhtiari are both back on the line together, Green Bay should field one of the best offensive lines in the league with talented young guards in Jon Runyan and Royce Newman, as well as second-year center Josh Myers and tackle Yosh Nijman.