The Green Bay Packers suffered a huge blow today when head coach Mike McCarthy announced that starting running back DuJuan Harris would be placed on injured reserve with a knee injury.
With Harris out, it solidifies rookie Eddie Lacy as the starting running back when the season begins on September 8 against the San Francisco 49ers.
Harris had recently just started practicing with the Packers since he was out for 12 weeks with the same knee injury. His first action of the preseason was against the Seattle Seahawks on Friday night, where he reinjured the same knee on a screen pass early in the game.
It's not a major injury like a torn ACL, rather its an inflamed patellar tendon. The injury would sideline Harris for serveral weeks, like it did all offseason. It looks like the Packers are being cautious this time around with Harris and won't want to rush him back.
There was talk that the Packers had possibly rushed him back too soon to play against the Seahawks instead of waiting to play him against the Kansas City Chiefs this Thursday night in the preseason finale.
Losing Harris will be very hard for the Packers to overcome. Harris was a nice surprise for the Packers last year in their lackluster running game. With Harris and Lacy in the fold, the Packers had the beginings of a solid 1-2 punch at the running back position. Something they havent had since the Edgar Bennett-Dorsey Levens days in the mid 1990s.
It will be up to rookie Johnathan Franklin to fill the role that Harris has vacated. Franklin hasn't had a great camp thus far and it was possible he could of been one of the roster cut victims. With Harris' injury, it looks like Franklin's spot is safe now.
The Packers also have veterans James Starks and Alex Green on the roster. Both of those players look to be a safe bet to make the team now as well. But Franklin is the best option to provide the missing speed the Packers will miss from Harris.
So, with all the talk surrounding Green Bay's revamped running attack, it now falls on the shoulders of two rookie running backs. Can they help carry the load and take some pressure off quarterback Aaron Rodgers? Only time will tell, but if the Packers want to advance deep into the playoffs and make a Super Bowl run, Lacy and Franklin have to step-up and be ready to contribute.