GREEN BAY - A little more than a week has passed since Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy underwent surgery on his injured ankle, and he’s already back in the classroom at Lambeau Field.
“Pretty much every day he’s at the team meeting,” running backs coach Ben Sirmans said Thursday. “He was in our position meeting today. So for him, he’s keeping involved.”
Lacy’s original injury took place during a win over the New York Giants but worsened significantly the following week against the Dallas Cowboys, when he carried 17 times for 65 yards and looked gimpy from start to finish. Four days later, after his test results were examined by orthopedic specialist Bob Anderson in Charlotte, N, the Packers placed Lacy on injured reserve and scheduled him for surgery.
“Although he’s on IR, he’s here every day,” Sirmans said. “We have a team meeting, he’s expected to be there unless he’s doing something different with the rehab, he’ll be around the building. Staying in contact with him is good just to keep him involved with what we’re doing.”
Because he is on injured reserve, Lacy must sit out at least eight weeks before a potential return. He would be eligible to play in Week 15 against the Chicago Bears, but whether the Packers use their designated-to-return option on Lacy — each team only gets one — hinges largely on the rate of recovery. It’s possible that Lacy, who will be an unrestricted free agent in March, has played his last game as a Packer.
On Thursday, Sirmans seemed to indicate Lacy’s absence could extend beyond Week 15.
“I think with him, he knows that it’s a long stretch for him,” Sirmans said. “Who knows what can happen if we do well enough we get into the playoffs, we start making a run and if he’s physically able, who knows? It all depends on how his rehab goes.”
But what has been a makeshift running attack without Lacy appears to be on the verge of a much-needed shot in the arm.
Backup James Starks, who underwent minor knee surgery on Oct. 16, returned to practice Thursday for the first time. He and tight end Jared Cook, who also returned to practice while recovering from a high ankle sprain, went through individual drills but did not take part in 11-on-11 activities.
Randall Cobb: 'Have to go out and make things happen'
Pete chat: Bring Lacy or Shields back from IR?
It would be a stretch for Starks to take the field this weekend against the Indianapolis Colts, but his presence at practice is a significant step in the right direction.
“He went through individuals, did some things with that,” Sirmans said. “He wanted to do more, and I kind of held him back out of some of the drills that we did. Obviously he didn’t do anything in terms of team reps, but he’s feeling pretty good, he moved around pretty good, but we’re just being real slow with him particularly for this week.”
Packers reporters discuss the team's injuries and how those could impact upcoming games. Sarah Kloepping/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin