20

December

Packers News: James Starks hopes to return for playoffs

Packers RB James Starks

Packers RB James Starks

When James Starks was hit in the knee by Vikings cornerback Josh Robinson late in the Packers’ Dec. 2 win at Lambeau Field, the thought was that his season would be over.

After all, the third-year running back has suffered multiple injuries dating back to his collegiate days at Buffalo. He exploded onto the scene late in the 2010 season and became the Packers’ lead back during their run to Super Bowl XLV.

His injury against the Vikings was thought to be a huge blow to a running game that had been struggling throughout the majority of the season.

But now, according to Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, it appears the Packers are aiming to bring Starks back for the playoffs.

“It’s a lot better,” Starks said. “Just how I was bent, when you look at it, it looked a lot worse. So I just thank God for being able to possibly come back and do well. So no real, serious bad injuries.”

With Starks out of the lineup the past couple weeks, the Packers have employed a three-man rotation at running back with Alex Green, DuJuan Harris and Ryan Grant. In two games without Starks, Green has carried the ball a team-high 26 times, Harris 12 and Grant nine.

Starks had taken over as the team’s primary ball carrier Nov. 11 against the Arizona Cardinals.

The running game has been steadily improving over the course of the season. The return of Starks to the backfield rotation would figure to boost the offense even more. Head coach Mike McCarthy said there was always hope Starks would return.

“Starks’ situation is to hopefully get him back for the playoffs. That was a decision that was made a few weeks ago.”

By no means is it a guarantee that Starks will return for the postseason, but today’s news is certainly a good sign for the Packers.

The Packers could be short-handed in the backfield on Sunday, as Green may be forced to sit out after suffering a concussion against the Bears. If Green is out, the Packers will rely on Harris, Grant and fullback John Kuhn to shoulder the load in the ground game.

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Marques is a Journalism student, serving as the Sports Editor of UW-Green Bay\'s campus newspaper The Fourth Estate and a Packers writer at Jersey Al\'s AllGBP.com. Follow Marques on Twitter @MJEversoll.