Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Monday that running back James Starks will likely practice Tuesday and could even play on Thursday in Detroit if all goes well during the week.
Starks was hurt during the fourth quarter of the Packers’ 35-26 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. He was bent back in the middle of a pile and needed assistance getting off the field. After the game, McCarthy called the injury a “knee sprain,” which hasn’t exactly been the kindest of injury assessments recently.
On Monday, the somber mood seemed to change. McCarthy called Starks “sore” but seemed optimistic that his second-year running back would test out the knee Tuesday at practice. If Starks passes the tests during the week, McCarthy said he’s “hopeful” that Starks would play against the Lions on Thanksgiving.
Other highlights from McCarthy’s Monday press conference:
- Receiver Greg Jennings has a knee bruise but should practice on Tuesday. All indications pointed to him being ready for Thursday.
- McCarthy didn’t seem worried about the schedule, and he also pointed out that Detroit is now on the exact same schedule. He feels good about where the Packers are at health-wise, too.
- Tom Silverstein of the Journal Sentinel asked a good question about the Lions’ defensive line and their ability to win upfront against the Packers late last season. McCarthy said that the Lions’ play in the trenches was one of the major factors in their win in December of 2010. He also said that the Packers have focused mostly on tape from this season because the Lions have different players upfront, including rookie defensive tackle Nick Fairley.
- McCarthy said that mental preparation was the most important part of this week. The Packers will spend limited time on the practice field to ensure the physical aspect of the game is intact. McCarthy said he won’t lose this game on Tuesday and Wednesday with grueling practices.
- McCarthy wasn’t worried about the punt protection issues that Tampa Bay may have exposed on Sunday. He said the special teams had an up and down day but that everything was correctable.
- He seemed very impressed with Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford. He noted that the most important stat for a young quarterback is games played, and the experience is clearly starting to pay off. Stafford is having “a heck of a year.”
- McCarthy was pleased with the Packers production in the run game despite some of the struggles against one of the NFL’s worst run defenses. He said that Starks was getting better and stronger every week.
- There was no problems with playing on Thanksgiving. McCarthy called it an honor. You grow up watching the NFL on Thanksgiving and it’s a special game to be playing in.
Zach Kruse is a 23-year-old sports journalist with a passion for the Green Bay Packers. He currently lives in Wisconsin and is working on his journalism degree, while also covering prep sports for The Dunn Co. News.
You can read more of Zach's Packers articles on AllGreenBayPackers.com.Follow @zachkruse2