GREEN BAY – Sunday is Eddie Lacy’s goal.
“That’s what we’re shooting for,” Lacy said on Thursday after being a limited participant in practice due to an ankle injury for the second straight day. “Hopefully I’m able to get out there and play.
“I’m able to move decently right now. I have a few more days until Sunday, so I still have time to get better.”
The issue of Lacy’s availability for Sunday’s home game against Dallas is heightened due to uncertainty regarding backup James Starks.
Starks is also on the injury report, with a knee injury, and he’s currently back home in Buffalo due to a death in the family. He’s scheduled to return to the team on Saturday.
If neither Lacy nor Starks can play, the Packers would be down to fullback Aaron Ripkowski and receivers Randall Cobb and Ty Montgomery as backfield options. Rookie running back Don Jackson also is currently on the practice squad.
Lacy has only missed two games in his career, one due to a concussion and the other to a groin injury. He has proven his durability before.
As a rookie in 2013, he injured an ankle in early December. For the final month of that season, he wore a walking boot most of the week, took a few practice snaps in the final workout on Friday, and suited up to play. He rushed for 372 yards in four games with that routine.
Lacy takes a lot of pride in being able to play through times like these. He also attributes his track record, in part, to a running style that makes him more likely to dish out hits than receive them.
“In college, we were coached as backs to deliver it versus taking it, and it kind of gets ingrained in your mind that if you’re hitting someone, you’re technically not absorbing it,” Lacy said. “I really don’t know if it mattered or if it makes sense, but in our mind that’s just the way we’re wired. I think that by me hitting them versus me getting hit, it helps.”
In his last two games, Lacy has put that style on display. He broke several tackles in a 17-carry, 103-yard performance against the Lions in Week 3. He was heading for an even more impressive game last week, with 11 carries for 81 yards against the Giants, before hurting the ankle.
Last Sunday’s performance included a 31-yard jaunt down the far sideline that saw Lacy not only break tackles but bowl over a defender as he went out of bounds. Lacy never went down, and the Lambeau Field crowd went nuts.
“I think we can put that in an energy-creating category,” Lacy said of runs like that. “It’s definitely a spark for our team.
“Anytime a defender, whether they’re coming at an angle to hit you and they fall down, and you go out of bounds but you stand up, and they have to look up at you still standing up, I think it takes a little bit out of them.”
The last thing Lacy wanted to do was come out of that game. He got re-taped on the sideline and thought about pushing it but decided not to risk it. To have 81 yards with five minutes left in the third quarter, he could only wonder what might have been.
“Yeah, that (stunk) a little bit,” he said. “But it happened. Wish it didn’t.
“But it’s a long season. Just have to get back healthy and shoot for it again next week.”
For the season, Lacy has 295 yards on 54 carries, a robust 5.5 average, which is more than a yard better than his career 4.3-yard average coming into 2016. In his last two games, he has 184 yards on 28 rushes, a 6.6 mark.
The timing of the injury was unfortunate, but Lacy has no doubts the productivity will resume soon enough with the steady work the linemen have done up front.
“As a whole, we’ve done a great job,” Lacy said. “Offensive line, getting guys out of the way. You see receivers finishing blocks downfield. We’ve been able to take advantage of that. That’s going to help if we can stay consistent down the line.”
And keep Lacy healthy and playing.