James Starks ruled out, injured for fifth time in career

GREEN BAY, Wis. — For the fifth time in his career, Green Bay Packers fourth-year running back James Starks is sidelined with an injury. This time, Starks is dealing with a knee injury that he suffered in Week 3, and it’s serious enough that he has already been ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions.

“James Starks’ injury, I would put him in a category of a couple of weeks,” coach Mike McCarthy said Wednesday.

It’s the second knee injury of Starks’ career (he had one last season, too), adding to a list that also includes injuries to his hamstring, ankle and toe over the past few years.

On Sept. 23, the day after Starks got hurt, he was hopeful that the Packers’ bye week would allow enough time for him to heal.

“It’s doing good,” Starks said Sept. 23. “A little sore, but I’m going to be fine. It just got tumbled on a little wrong, twisted up a little bit.”

Starks added that the x-rays taken at the time made it “look like it’s going to be good.” However, that didn’t turn out to be the case.

After Starks misses this upcoming week’s game, he’ll have been healthy for just 25 of 52 games in his career.

That wasn’t the only bad news for Green Bay in the team’s injury report. Cornerback Casey Hayward was ruled out with a hamstring injury that has sidelined him for the entire season so far.

“Hamstrings are different on every player, every individual, as far as their rate of recovery,” McCarthy said. “This is just the course that we’re going. I don’t have an answer for you. He’s not going to be ready this week.”

The Packers will also be without backup offensive lineman Greg Van Roten for “multiple weeks” with a foot sprain that occurred in Monday’s practice.

All of the injuries started to weigh on McCarthy as his Wednesday press conference continued.

“I spent too much time with Doc McKenzie (team physician Dr. Patrick McKenzie) and then I have to listen to this stuff,” McCarthy said. “I’m worn out. Why are we even talking about that? We’re going to stay healthy. Everybody is going to play the whole game. We’re going to walk on with 46 and walk off with 46. How’s that for an answer?”

Despite McCarthy’s frustration, there was some optimism on the injury front for the Packers. Outside linebacker Clay Matthews, who left the Week 3 game early with a hamstring injury, was able to practice on a limited basis Wednesday.

“He’s getting better,” McCarthy said. “He’s made a lot of progress since coming off the field in Cincinnati. I’m hopeful that he’ll be able to do more (Thursday). That’s the plan.”

There was other good news for McCarthy as well, with several players returning from injuries. Tight end Jermichael Finley (concussion), fullback John Kuhn (hamstring) and cornerback Jarrett Bush (hamstring) all took part in every facet of Wednesday’s practice. Earlier this week, running back Eddie Lacy (concussion) and safety Morgan Burnett (hamstring) were also medically cleared.

Follow Paul Imig on Twitter