GREEN BAY - Eddie Lacy needs surgery on his left ankle, sources said Thursday, and the Green Bay Packers running back was placed on injured reserve, giving him a minimum of eight weeks to recover.
The Packers promoted practice squad running back Don Jackson to the 53-man roster to take Lacy's place. The Packers play the Chicago Bears at 7:25 p.m. at Lambeau Field.
Lacy injured his ankle against the New York Giants two weeks ago and though he returned to rush 17 times for 65 yards against the Dallas Cowboys last Sunday, soreness the day after prompted the Packers to send his imaging results to orthopedic specialist Bob Anderson in Charlotte, N.C., to be reviewed. The recommendation the Packers received back indicated that Lacy needed surgery to repair damage that would not heal on its own.
PackersNews first reported Tuesday night that Lacy might need to go on injured reserve.
Jackson will team with newly acquired running back Knile Davis and receiver Ty Montgomery to fill the spots held by Lacy and backup James Starks, who also underwent surgery this week. Starks underwent an arthroscopic procedure on his knee and is week to week.
Putting Lacy on injured reserve means he'll miss a minimum of eight weeks and may not play again for the Packers. Lacy is an unrestricted free agent after this season and it's possible the Packers won't use their one option to return a player from injured reserve to the 53-man roster on Lacy.
Besides the injury, the Packers will have to evaluate whether Lacy has done enough to keep himself in good condition to return to the football field. Lacy has battled a weight issues and won't be on the practice field for two months. The Packers undoubtedly will set up a program for Lacy to stay in shape while his ankle heals.
The Packers believe Lacy could be healthy enough to return to action in Week 15 against the Bears at Soldier Field. That is the same week that cornerback Sam Shields would be available to return. Shields was put on injured reserve this week after missing five weeks with a concussion and will also be eligible for return in Week 15.
If things go well with Jackson and Davis, the Packers may want to use their one "designated to return" option on Shields.
Davis isn't expected to see a lot of time against the Bears because he just arrived in town Tuesday and barely knows the offense. The Packers probably will create a package of 10 plays or so that Davis is able to run. He said this week that there were some things that carried over from the Chiefs' offense.
"All day today, all day tomorrow, before the game, (I'll be) trying to learn as much as I can," Davis said Tuesday.
Jackson, on the other hand, should be able to step in right away and run anything the Packers have in their offense. He was with the team during the off-season, and while he was cut just before training camp because of a broken jaw, he was signed to the practice squad right after the final cuts.
He has spent the past six weeks getting both scout team and first-team work. With Lacy and Starks both ailing last week, he got a fair amount of reps with the No. 1 offense in practice.
The 5-10, 208-pound Jackson ranked 13th all-time at Nevada with 2,318 rushing yards on 520 carries (4.5 average), including 1,029 as a senior.
"If it did come down to a situation where he was out there, obviously he would be a guy that we’d be confident (in), and that’s why we brought him back," running backs coach Ben Sirmans said last week. "I liked him during OTAs and those things. And since he’s been back you can see the energy and the juice that he brings to the table.
"I feel confident that he would be a guy that could help us."
The Packers also plan on using Montgomery a fair amount in the backfield. Last week against Dallas, Montgomery played 35 snaps, including 22 at the running back position, and led all receivers with 10 catches for 98 yards. He only had six yards on two carries, however.
Montgomery, who played running back in high school, said he has been working for the past couple of weeks to get the running back position down. He fumbled twice against the Cowboys, one of which was lost, and said he has to get used to running in traffic more.
"I had to learn basically a new playbook in like two or three weeks when stuff started happening," Montgomery told Clubhouse Live. "I didn't know what was going to happen, and I just started trying to prepare just in case for the emergency, and it ended up needing to happen. Go from learning the playbook as a receiver where you only know the route concepts and what the quarterback's doing, to now I've got to know the fronts and the 'backers and the protections and the blitz pickups.
"And then I've got to know my aiming points on the runs. It gets complicated, but it's doable."