Packers could be without LB Za’Darius Smith for opener

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GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — The Green Bay Packers could be missing one of their best players when they kick off the 2021 season.

Packers coach Matt LaFleur said Sunday Pro Bowl outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith “potentially” could miss the opener at the New Orleans Saints on Sept. 12.

Smith spent the first 12 practices of training camp on the non-football injury list with a back issue.

He returned to practice on Monday but missed the joint practices against the New York Jets on Wednesday and Thursday.

He didn’t play in Saturday’s 23-14 preseason loss to the Jets.