Benson on IR; Finley hopes to play Sunday

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Packers running back Cedric Benson has been placed on injured reserve after suffering a Lisfranc injury to his left foot Sunday. But unlike previous NFL seasons, Benson will have a chance to get back on the field later this year due to a new league rule that allows each team to designate one player for a possible return.

With Benson being given that designation, he could return to practice in six weeks and then play in Week 14 at home against the Detroit Lions. But that will all depend on how quickly Benson recovers from the injury.

“We’re definitely optimistic (and) we feel that he can come back,” coach Mike McCarthy said Wednesday. “A foot sprain is definitely a tough injury to come back from, but within that time frame we feel that he definitely has a chance. His history would tell you that he is going to come back. And just with my time being around him, he’s a true pro. He’s been excellent. He spends a lot of time in the weight room.

“I could see him being one of those guys that comes back and plays the last four weeks of the season.”

Three of Green Bay’s best players — wide receiver Greg Jennings (groin), tight end Jermichael Finley (shoulder) and nose tackle B.J. Raji (ankle) – also missed Wednesday’s practice.

Despite revealing he suffered a dislocated AC joint in his right shoulder during Sunday’s loss to the Colts, Finley was optimistic about playing this weekend against the Houston Texans.

“If it’s my call, I’m playing,” Finley said Wednesday at his locker. “The swelling is gone. I’m (not going to) take any contact from here to Sunday, but I have range of motion, the strength is there. But I don’t want to take a hit in practice. I’m waiting until Sunday (to take a hit) to hopefully get out there and play.

“What (the team is) looking for, they want me to play. I think they want me to play, and my mindset is to play.”

Finley left Sunday’s game early in the third quarter and was unable to return. But after missing the final 11 games of the 2010 season due to a knee injury – and sitting out the team’s Super Bowl win — Finley doesn’t want to miss any more time on the field.

“I’m not trying to be that tough guy, the Hulk or nothing like that,” Finley said. “I just want to play football. I sat out multiple games, a whole year, so I ain’t going to let an AC joint shoulder hold me back, I guarantee you. If the recovery goes well, I’m for sure playing Sunday.”

Raji was less optimistic about his status for this weekend’s game in Houston. He rolled his ankle against the Colts and later had to be carted to the locker room. McCarthy said on Monday that Raji was wearing a walking boot on his left foot.

“I’m not going to put a timetable on it or anything like that, but I’ll just do the best I can,” Raji said Wednesday. “I’m just taking it day by day, just doing the best that I can to try to get healthy.”

Jennings did not play against the Colts and has been on and off the field all season. Last week, Jennings spoke as if the injury to his groin could keep him out more than just one game.

“Gotta be smart now,” Jennings said. “There’s a difference between being smart with it and being kind of ignorant. I can’t keep having that up and down – I’m in one game, out the next, not sure one game, good the next – I can’t keep doing that to myself or the team.

“That being said, I’m just going to wait until I get 100 percent back healthy and then we’ll see ’85’ (Jennings’ jersey number) back out there.”

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