Cedric Benson might not be quite ready to return to the field when he becomes eligible to practice next week, but the Green Bay Packers running back believes he’ll be ready for the team’s Week 14 game against Detroit.
Under the NFL’s new injured reserve rules, the eighth-year running back can return to practice next week after suffering a Lisfranc foot sprain against Indianapolis Oct. 7 and being placed on injured reserve with a designation to return.
While that may be too early, Benson said he’ll be ready to return for the Packers’ game against the Lions on Dec. 9, which would be the first game he could play in under the rules that dictate players can’t practice for six weeks and can’t play for eight.
“Cedric had the opportunity to have some testing done and everything’s positive,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “His rehab has picked up. We’ll see where we are next week. We don’t have a startup date exactly when he’s going to be ready. We had some good news in the past seven days.”
For now, James Starks appears to have retaken his spot as the Green Bay Packers’ No. 1 running back over Alex Green, but Benson might not be too far behind.
When Starks was out for two months with a turf toe injury, the 29-year-old Benson had become the Packers’ every-down running back, rushing for 248 yards on 71 carries with one touchdown before the injury.
Benson agrees the league's new IR rule saved his season, but the wait has been hard at times for a guy who missed only one game over his last two seasons, which was due to suspension, not injury.
After nearly six weeks of rehab and three weeks away from a potential return, Benson is progressing to the point he's excited to be talking return.
" I think we’re still a couple of weeks away from that, but very close, very close," Benson said. "Kind of the way the doctor puts it to me all the time is regardless of anything, whether you could play tomorrow, you’ve still got three weeks where you can’t play."