GREEN BAY, Wisconsin. The race includes Kailyn Hill, Elgton Jenkins and Robert Tonyan.

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All three Green Bay Packers suffered an ACL tear within weeks of each other last fall. They recovered side by side, and now that they are on the cusp of a comeback, every player wants to be the first to come back.

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“Between Rob and Elgton, they fight each other every day,” said Hill, a running back and kickback substitute who suffered an ACL tear in his right knee against the Cardinals on Oct. 28 against the Cardinals. “I am silent, sitting in the background and laughing.

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“We are all very happy to be together in these rehab sessions and we are ready to hit the field.”

Jenkins, who tore his left cruciate ligament, was injured three and a half weeks later against the Vikings. Like Hill, Tonyang (who left the ACL) also suffered against the Cardinals.

“Me, him, Elgton, we talk every day,” Hill said. “We’re ready to come back and make a big splash on the pitch together.”

The obvious goal is to return to the start of training camp on July 27th. For Hill and Tonyan, it will be exactly nine months since the injuries. A more realistic goal is the first week. However, Jenkins can be weeks behind. They spent the entire off-season in rehab while the rest of the team went through a mini-camp and an OTA that ended this week.

“Right now, it just keeps running,” Jenkins said. “When it’s time to go outside, and when it’s comfortable for me and the coaches are comfortable, then we will do it.”

However, David Bakhtiari’s remaining tackle is alarming. He tore his left cruciate ligament while training on December 31, 2020. This made his availability for the 2021 rookie unlikely, so it’s no wonder he started the season on the physically unable to compete list. The surprise, however, was that he didn’t play his first snaps – and, as it turned out, his only ones – of the season until the Week 18 game against the Lions. It was supposed to be a dress rehearsal for the playoffs, but instead it was shut down again.

Bakhtiari’s troubles may not be over yet. He did not participate in any practice during this off-season; instead, he spent time in a rehab group with Hill, Jenkins, and Tonyang.

“Time will tell,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur said as to whether Bakhtiari will be back by the start of training camp. “We fully expect it to be ready to go, but we did that last year as well. So I guess time will tell. But we are happy with the work he has done and where he is.”

If the Packers bring all four of their ACL players back this season, it will solve a few problems.

Bakhtiari will return to the left tackle where he was All-Pro. This would allow Jenkins, who suffered when Bakhtiari replaced him, to either return to left back where he won the Pro Bowl in 2020 or become the new starting right tackle after Billy Turner was released. Tonyang will once again be the team’s top tight end given that the Packers did not select or sign a free agent for the position. And Hill, third behind Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon, is likely to be the top returner for new special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia.

“These are really important players for us,” Lafleur said. “They’re doing well as long as they’re here.”