With the Packers currently sitting a game behind the Bears in the NFC North, the Dec. 16th showdown could have a significant impact on playoff seeding.
Benson has been on injured reserve since suffering a Lisfranc foot sprain in the Packers’ Week 5 loss to the Indianapolis Colts.
NFL rules state a player on injured reserve can return to practice after six weeks and to games after eight weeks. So while Benson can return to practice next week, the earliest he could return to action is in Week 14 (Dec. 9th) against the Detroit Lions.
Benson recently spoke to ESPN Milwaukee regarding his potential return.
I think if I come back early, if I try to rush it, it can really affect me, Benson said. So I think it’s in my best interest as the team’s as well and my contribution to the team to come back when it’s ready to come back.
The 29-year-old running back had 71 attempts for 248 yards and 14 receptions for 97 yards prior to the injury.
The Packers have been a pass-heavy team over the last few years and have used a number of running backs during that time. Brandon Jackson, James Starks and Alex Green have all tried, with varying levels of success, to step up and provide some balance to the Packers’ offense.
When the Packers signed Benson in the offseason, they added an experienced, dependable back that could provide consistency in the run game. Benson has rushed for at least 1,000 yards in each of the last three seasons and has played in 11 or more games every year since 2006.
It’s unfortunate that Benson has had to miss a big portion of the season for the first time in his career. However, his return could provide a boost to the Packers’ offense as they try to make their fourth consecutive playoff appearance.