Green Bay Packers: Ryan Grant Injury Update and Status for Week 4

Michael DulkaContributor ISeptember 28, 2011

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 25:  Craig Steltz #20 of the Chicago Bears tackles Ryan Grant #25 of the Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field on September 25, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Packers defeated the Bears 27-17.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Green Bay Packers provided an injury update on running back Ryan Grant who was injured late against the Bears in Week 3. Grant, sandwiched between two defenders, was able to jog off the field, but collapsed to his knees upon reaching the sideline. Grant has been diagnosis with a bruised kidney and is unlikely to play against the Denver Broncos in Week 4.

Head Coach Mike McCarthy opened his Wednesday press conference by giving updates on the injured players, specifically Ryan Grant and Bryan Bulaga. 

"The players are trying to get ready to play," McCarthy told reporters. "In their opinion they'll be able to go by Sunday. Our medical staff is not of the same opinion. We'll give them until Friday to see where those two are."  

Following a Week 1 injury to corner back Tramon Williams, the Packers coaching staff and medical staff were extremely cautious bringing him back from a shoulder bruise. It can be expected that the Packers will lean on the side of caution again and rest both players. 

With the sensitive nature of Grant's injury, the Packers medical staff will have to make sure Grant is not putting himself in any more danger. The long term health of the running back is more important than playing for an already heavily favored team in Week 4 of the season.  

Grant is coming off his best performance of the season against the Chicago Bears in which he rushed for 92 yards on 17 carries. If Grant is unable to go, most of the load will fall on the shoulders of James Starks who had been splitting carries with Grant. After impressive play in the first two games, Starks struggled mightily against the Bears with just five yards on 11 carries.

Starks is more than capable of handling the duties in the backfield as he showed through the first two weeks of the season. He will need to find the vision he used to slice up the Carolina Panthers in an outstanding Week 2 performance.

A big opportunity presents itself for Starks as the Packers face a Denver Broncos team that heavily struggles against the run. There should be plenty of holes to choose from and allow Starks to forget his miserable day in Chicago. Over the first three weeks of the season, the Broncos have been much better against the run than they were last year, but are still giving up 100 yards a game to opposing offenses.

Grant's assumed absence should also provide the first playing time for rookie running back Alex Green. He will be expected to contribute on special teams, but also should see carries throughout the game as the Packers will most likely opt to not overload Starks with carries.