A hip injury is what caused Green Bay Packers running back James Starks to stay behind for treatment during the team’s bye week and sidelined him for the first two days of practice this week.
Starks had his first multi-touchdown game against San Diego before the bye, rushing for 112 yards on 10 carries. He tapped out briefly in the second half against the Chargers and met with team doctor Patrick McKenzie, but returned to finish the game.
Starks played in only 22 of a possible 48 regular-season games in his first three NFL seasons due to a myriad of hamstring, ankle, toe and knee injuries. He missed three games in 2013 with a torn medial collateral ligament, but played in all 18 games (including playoffs) a year ago.
Starks and receiver Ty Montgomery (ankle) were the only Packers who didn't practice. Afterward, the sixth-year running back declined to speak with reporters in the locker room. Before practice, Packers coach Mike McCarthy said he hoped Starks would “do more today than he did Monday.”
“A lot of guys come out of the game with things. It's not James in particular,” McCarthy said. “When you have a bye week, on Monday with the schedule is what theirs was, I think they're all feeling pretty good. But you do have things that show up a day or two later. Frankly, I was here every day during the bye week and so was James. He's been working on this all week.”
Meanwhile, the Packers are getting healthier at receiver. Along with Davante Adams making progress with his sprained ankle, receivers James Jones (hamstring) and Randall Cobb (sprained shoulder) dropped off the injury report completely on Wednesday.
Adams, defensive lineman B.J. Raji (groin), outside linebacker Nick Perry (shoulder) and safety Morgan Burnett (calf) were all limited. Adams has spent the week experimenting with different methods of taping his injured ankle. He wasn’t wearing any tape when he aggravated it last month against Kansas City.
“He looked real good out there today, so glad to get him back,” Jones said. “Just puts another weapon out there for us on the field — a very good weapon because I believe Tae is going to be a special player in this league, so it’s good to get him back so he can go out there and make some plays.”
Inside linebacker Nate Palmer was added to the injury report with a chest injury, but he was a full participant.
The Packers are making several arrangements to prepare themselves for their first trip to Denver and Mile High Stadium since 2008.
The team will leave a little sooner than usual on Saturday to conduct a brief practice in the high elevation. McCarthy is preaching to his team the importance of increased hydration and carbohydrates.
“You feel it a little bit more, but once you get in the game, it’s just like a regular game,” quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. “It’s an issue maybe the first few plays. When I say issue, I just mean it kind of makes your lungs feel a little bit differently, and then you get into the game, maybe a little more tired on the ride home. But it’s not a factor, I don’t think.”