Does Hill Promotion Mean More Serious Injury For Starks?

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James Starks injury
Is Starks headed for another early exit?

The Green Bay Packers announced on Monday that running back Michael Hill was signed off of the team’s practice squad and to the 53-man roster.  Hill fills the roster spot that was vacated when the Packers released receiver/kick returner Jeremy Ross following the team’s loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.

Hill spent most of this year’s training camp with the San Diego Chargers and was signed to the Packers practice squad after he was released.

Hill’s spot on the practice squad was filled by wide receiver/kick return specialist Reggie Dunn.  Dunn is an undrafted rookie who reportedly ran a 4.24, 40 at his University of Utah Pro Day back in March.  As a kick returner, Dunn excelled. He returned four of his 10 run backs for touchdowns and averaging just over 50 yards per return last season.

With Hill’s promotion and Dunn’s immediate signing to the practice squad to fill that spot, questions have surfaced as to which of the Packers’ injured running backs may be missing more time.

Eddie Lacy sat out the game in Cincinnati recovering from a concussion he suffered the week prior against the Washington Redskins.  Fullback John Kuhn also missed this last game with a hamstring injury.  During the game against the Bengals, James Starks hurt his knee in the first half and did not return.  Starks was replaced by rookie Johnathan Franklin, who suffered a foot injury, but did return to action.

On Monday it was reported that both Lacy and Franklin participated in practice.  Starks and Kuhn did not participate.  Kuhn’s absence is likely a precaution and given that hamstring injuries are easily aggravated.  It seems most likely that the Packers are preparing to be without Starks for a while.

When asked about his knee following the Bengals game, Starks said the following to Ty Dunne of the Journal-Sentinel:

“More time to heal and get right and get back to doing what I was trying to do,” Starks said on the bye week. “I’m hoping. I prayed about it. So hopefully everything goes how I want it to go. It’s God’s plan. I’ll just make the best of it. . .they’re just making sure everything is good from the swelling and everything. But it feels better than it did.”

Any time that I hear of a player praying about an injury, I have to wonder just how serious it really is.  Starks had an MRI and the results have not been made known.  The bye week likely had a lot to do with that but it would seem to indicate that the team is evaluating their options.  This setback is another in a growing list of injuries for Starks since he joined the team in 2010.  Had the Packers played this past weekend, he would not likely have been available.

Teams promote and demote players from their practice squad all the time and it would not be unheard of for the Packers to send Hill back down at some point.  But given the team’s track record with promoting players from the practice squad, it would seem that they plan to keep Hill on the active roster for a while.  That likely means that when we hear an update on Starks, it is not likely to be favorable.

More to come on this as the week of practice moves along.

 

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Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on AllGreenBayPackers.com

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  • http://www.lyrictrumpet.com Bearmeat

    Wow. Shocking. Another Starks injury that’s worse than the original diagnosis.

    James Starks. Big back. Decent vision. Good power. Average speed.

    Made of glass. Nice guy. Has talent. Tries hard. I’ll be forever grateful for his role in the 6 game run at the end of 2010. But it’s time to move on.

  • the real russ letlow

    I still believe that we are looking for a KR/PR, and will sign one. I wouldn’t be shocked if Starks injury is bad enough to land him on the IR, and I think that could be why the RB was signed first.

    • http://Allpackers.com Nick Perry

      Hmmmm, well when do you suppose they’ll do that? I mean it’s been 8 days since the Bengals debacle and the Packers don’t seem any closer unless this Reggie Dunn is the man. One would think the Packers are tired of starting drives from their own 12 yard line. Personally I think it’s ridiculous that they still don’t have one. I certainly hope it’s not Cobb. A little side note observation here while watching Monday night football. I’m watching Darren Sproles catch screens, check downs, little short designed passes to get the ball in his hands in space. He’s got like 100 yards in a quarter and a half and can’t help but wonder WTF McCarthy. The few times the Packers ran screens this year they were pretty successful plays. After watching Franklin in action against the Bengals, hopefully McCarthy will figure out ways to get the ball in his hands. Damn, remember the days when the Packers were considered the best screen team in the NFL? They have the backs to do it now. Sorry I got so far off subject. Frustrated Packers fan is all.

      • http://allgbp.com Charlie

        Just don’t try and post that at Ask Vic – no negatives allowed in the comments, or you’re not a real fan.

      • Kurt the Turk

        Maybe its not because of the backs but because the linemen can’t fake the block and get into position in time? I honestly don’t know.

  • Outis

    So, where’s Alex Green now that we need him? Oh, I forgot. TT waived him and he’s now with the Jets. So, where’s Cedric Benson? I believe he’s still a free agent and as far as I know isn’t in jail . . . yet. Quick, sign him before he is!

    • Chad Toporski

      Nothing like holding on to old and/or untalented players!

      • Outis

        Humor based upon sarcasm is often lost on many.

  • bobalou13

    The understated good news here is the signing of Dunn. As it happens, living not far from Utah, I saw this guy in person and I tell you what, he is shifty as hell and super fast. The problem is, he is really only a return guy. Never really looked like he was on the same page with the QB as a receiver in the game I saw him, and not great hands. Unreal return guy though. Roster spot for a guy who can really only return kicks? Don’t know. And where will the roster spot come from? Starks? Kuhn?

    • http://allpackers.com nick perry

      Desmond Howard. He couldn’t catch a cold but man the dude could return kickoffs and punts. It worked in 1996, it can work in 2013. The thing is, how many times have we even saw Boykin on the field and he’s the 4th WR. Does it matter he can only return kicks? At this point, ranking last in the NFL I don’t think so. Just get back there, secure the ball and “Run Forest Run”!!

  • http://realtyt.com pack1best

    It looks like Dunn just might take starks roster spot if he isn’t able to go within the next couple of weeks

  • GBPDAN

    I Was looking forward to the 3 headed monster of Starks, Lacey and Franklin. Hope the injury news isn’t to bad. I also hope that the players not practicing today will be healthy by this weeked. The Lions look like a different offense with Bush. We need Clay!

    • http://allpackers.com nick perry

      I think it does GBPDAN. Personally I think the Packers would be just fine with Lacy and Franklin. Of coarse Kuhn is the best option for 3rd down BUT Franklin was 12 for 12 on picking up his man on pass protection in the Bengal game. He also is a better option catching the ball than Kuhn, faster, shiftier. The hit by Merriweather was unfortunate because I think Lacy would have had 150 yards against the Redskins. The Matthews injury sends me into panic mode. Perry just doesn’t seem to be getting any pressure and without Clay in there Bush scares the hell out of me. Without Matthews we don’t have a LB that has the speed Matthews does. The Hayward injury is concerning too, we need Casey on the field.

  • Razer

    I think that you are accurately reading between the lines with the promotion of Hill from the practice squad. I am hoping that he adds enough talent to the pool to provide real depth to the position. Remarkable that we have the two rookie RB’s as our only backfield and we are not a quarter way through the season.

  • Big T

    I hear John Brockington is available. Why the hell wouldn’t TT pick him up?

    • Outis

      Great idea, “Big T”! He was the NFL rookie of the year in 1971. Why not? He probably isn’t half as fragile as the current roster. After all, he’s only 65. Hell, at age 77, Paul Hornung isn’t and he “partied” a lot in his youth.

  • Morgan Mundane

    I was shocked he made the team. IMHO they were going to cut him until Franklin and Kuhn got hurt. I had reason to believe they were going with Green,Lacy, Kuhn,Franklin and starks was out.
    SO they keep Starksand dump Green (he couldn’t block)he plays two games, that seems about right before he gets hurt for the season, and were back at square one.

    There is a pattern here. Starks makes the team. Ross makes the team. Dbacks who are slow, smallish and unheard of make the team. ITs all about money and cheap ball.

  • Morgan Mundane

    If Starks has a mild bruise we would know that by now. He had a MRI so the news can’t be good. Perhaps his career, at least with GBP is done.