The Green Bay Packers will try to bounce back from their blowout Week 1 loss without star pass rusher Za'Darius Smith.
Coach Matt LaFleur told reporters that the Packers will place Smith on injured reserve as he continues to deal with a back issue that had him listed as questionable for the season opener.
"We're going to have to shut him down for a while," LaFleur said, via Rob Demovsky of ESPN. "Do you keep him in a limited (role) or do you shut him down for a while and try to get him up to the snap count we'd like him to be."
The Packers will choose the long-term over the short-term approach in hopes that when Smith returns later in the season, he's at full health, rather than managing the less-than-healthy edge rusher week by week.
Going on IR knocks the two-time Pro Bowler out at least three weeks.
Smith played 17 snaps in the Week 1 blowout loss to New Orleans, all coming in the first three quarters. Clearly not himself, the 29-year-old complied one tackle and zero pressures.
Losing the dominant edge rusher, who compiled 26 sacks over the past two seasons, is a big blow to a Packers defense that got bulldozed in the season opener. Green Bay will lean on Preston Smith, and former first-rounder Rashan Gary should see his snaps increase.
The Packers face the Detroit Lions on Monday night before heading to San Francisco to take on the 49ers on Sunday Night Football and a visit from the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Given the persistent pain back injuries cause, it's possible Green Bay could be without its most potent pass rusher for a large chunk of the season.