Eddie Lacy has gutted through a lot during his brief tenure with the Green Bay Packers, but the hip injury he sustained Monday against Atlanta presents a new set of challenges for the second-year running back.
Lacy has been limited in practice this week after exiting during the final offensive series of the Packers' 43-37 win over the Falcons. Working on a short week, Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Lacy has been limited to mostly individual work and teaching periods.
Lacy has missed only one game in his NFL career. It happened during Week 3 of last season following a concussion. He ran on a sprained ankle over the final month of last season, but didn't miss any starts.
Admittedly, it's easier to diagnose the severity of an ankle injury than a hip. That's why Lacy wasn't making any promises when asked about his availability to play against the Bills.
"It all depends on how my body feels," Lacy said. "If I can go out and play through that pain without setting the team back or putting the team at a disadvantage, I'll go out and do that. If not, then I'm not going to risk that."
The Bills rank fifth in NFL total defense under former Detroit coach Jim Schwartz. Buffalo is allowing the eighth-fewest yards to running backs (99.2) with 6-foot-3, 331-pound nose tackle Marcell Dareus clogging the middle.
It's a double-edged sword for the Packers, who could use Lacy to help break through one of the league's top-performing fronts. At the same time, the offense wants to keep the bulldozing back fresh for the final stretch of the season, especially with the league's stingiest unit, Detroit, scheduled for the regular-season finale.
Lacy feels he's making progress and plans to see where the week takes him. He has "no idea" about the possible risks of re-injury or aggravation.
The Packers won't practice Friday, so a decision on Lacy could very well come during Saturday's final run-through. If he can't go, Buffalo native James Starks and DuJuan Harris would be counted on to carry the league's 14th-ranked rushing offense.
Lacy has rebounded from a slow September to put himself back on track for a second consecutive 1,000-yard rushing season. He needs 157 more yards over the last three weeks of the season to make it happen.
"I'm progressing and trying to see where I am by game time," Lacy said. "It depends on how the rest of the week goes. I'm progressing still. But there's still some things that need to be figured out."
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