Packers' LaFleur hopeful of Alexander, Smith returning for divisional round

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The Green Bay Packers could welcome back two star defensive players in time for Saturday's divisional-round meeting with the San Francisco 49ers.

Head coach Matt LaFleur said he's "hopeful" cornerback Jaire Alexander and pass-rusher Za'Darius Smith will suit up against the 49ers, according to ESPN's Rob Demovsky.

"They'll be out there (practicing Tuesday), and we'll see how they react over the course of the week," LaFleur said, per Demovsky.

Alexander has been sidelined since Week 4 due to a shoulder injury. He was activated off injured reserve prior to Week 17 but did not dress for any of the Packers' final regular-season games.

Smith was knocked out of action after undergoing back surgery following the team's season opener.

The two stars have been critical to the Packers' success in recent years. Both players earned Pro Bowl nods last season, with Alexander gaining recognition as one of the league's top corners while Smith notched 12.5 sacks.

The Packers' playoff matchup with the 49ers marks the teams' second matchup this season. Green Bay narrowly edged San Francisco 30-28 in Week 3.

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Packers' LaFleur hopeful of Alexander, Smith returning for divisional round
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