James Starks Injury Update: Time for the Packers to Call Ryan Grant

Michael DulkaContributor IDecember 4, 2012

GREEN BAY, WI - DECEMBER 2: James Starks #44 of the Green Bay Packers gets tackled while running with the ball against the Minnesota Vikings during the game at Lambeau Field on December 2, 2012 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers won 23-14. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Green Bay Packers' running back situation may be getting worse just as it looked to be getting better. ESPN Milwaukee's Jason Wilde is reporting that James Starks might be done for the year after hurting his knee late in the game against the Minnesota Vikings. With limited resources at running back, the Packers should sign Ryan Grant going into the playoff push. 

If Starks is put on season-ending injured reserve, the Packers would be left with Alex Green and newcomers Johnny White and DuJuan Harris. The Packers announced last week that Cedric Benson wouldn't be back after deciding surgery was the best option. 

Outside of Alex Green, there isn't a ton of potential to fill the void left by Starks. Harris was promoted from the practice squad, so there is a little bit of familiarity there. White was brought in after playing with the Buffalo Bills early in the year. 

Ryan Grant had a short stint with the Washington Redskins, playing in one game and carrying the ball one time for five yards. Despite his success last season, Grant hasn't been able to stick with a team, even though he's had numerous tryouts. 

Of the backs currently available, Grant is the best option because of his familiarity with the blocking scheme and the offense. Grant is only 29 years old and was quite productive last season. He finished the year with 559 rushing yards and 268 receiving yards while splitting carries with James Starks.

With virtually no action since last season, it will likely be a tough task for Grant to come in and carry the ball a bunch, but if the move is made, he could be getting into game-shape just as the playoffs start. He could provide a spark to the running game similar to what Starks was able to do in 2010 after coming off the PUP list.

The timing of Starks' injury is unfortunate for the Packers. They were coming off one of their strongest rushing performances of the season as Starks and Green were productive against a stout Vikings defense. While both running backs had success, a large portion of that was based on them benefiting from sharing carries with their different running styles.  

Grant and Green could be a nice pairing and would have the potential to be just as successful as Starks and Green, depending on the play of the offensive line. Even if it doesn't bring about the production of last Sunday's game, it sounds a lot better than a duo of Alex Green and Johnny White or DuJuan Harris. 

The Packers wanted to go in a more youthful direction in not bringing back Ryan Grant, but at this point, it seems the aged variety of running back might be needed to safe the season.