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Monday, September 23, 2013
Packers could have running back options

By Rob Demovsky

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Depending on the health of their running backs, the Green Bay Packers might come back from their bye week with a strong rushing attack.

But at this point, there are significant questions about the health of all four of their backs.

For the sake of their running game, it’s probably a good thing the Packers don’t play again until Oct. 6 against the Detroit Lions.

Even rookie Johnathan Franklin, who rushed for 103 yards in Sunday’s loss at Cincinnati and finished the game as the only available running back, has an injury. He hurt his foot on the final drive, although he returned after missing only three snaps.

Franklin came on in relief of James Starks, who left in the second quarter because of a knee injury. Starks started in place of Eddie Lacy, who missed the game because of the concussion he sustained the previous week against Washington. Fullback John Kuhn (hamstring) also was inactive.

The Packers offered no details about their injuries on Monday, but Lacy expressed optimism he would be back for the Lions’ game even though he has to get medical clearance.

Lacy went through a pregame workout at Paul Brown Stadium on Sunday that he said was “just to see if I ran and got my heart rate up, what I would have.”

“Since I wasn’t cleared, I had no intention of playing,” Lacy said Monday, “but I have a bye week to still get right.”

Starks said he was waiting for test results but believes he avoided a serious injury.

“A little sore,” he said Monday, “but I’m going to be fine.”

If all three halfbacks are healthy, the Packers could have their deepest backfield combination in Mike McCarthy’s eight years as coach. Starks rushed for 132 yards in Week 2 and had 55 yards on 14 carries in the first half against the Bengals. Franklin gave them their first game with consecutive 100-yard backs since Weeks 16 and 17 of the 2007 season. Lacy, who began the season as the starter, was off to a good start before his concussion.

“We hope all three of them are healthy and that will give us some good options, whichever way we decide to go,” Packers offensive coordinator Tom Clements said.