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Cedric Benson's return to Packers reportedly unclear

The Green Bay Press Gazette on Thursday cited growing concern that Cedric Benson's Lisfranc injury might prevent the Packers running back from making his return this season.

The veteran back remains couched on the injured reserve/designated to return list, but coach Mike McCarthy said he has yet to learn of the results of Benson's medical checkup on Wednesday (likely a daytime appointment; by night, Benson morphs into DJ World Peace).

Green Bay ranks 23rd in rushing after leaning on a combination of Alex Green and James Starks in recent weeks. Neither player gives the Packers a true presence on the ground.

Most defenses can't stop Green Bay's passing game, anyway, but the league's better units -- i.e. those playing in January -- have shown some ability to slow down this unbalanced attack. Maybe Aaron Rodgers just airmails this team from here to eternity, but we've seen him take a beating behind Green Bay's shaky line.

Benson wasn't about to set the world on fire, but he was signed to bring some legitimacy to the running game, which would help the passing game disguise itself better. From that angle, his absence weakens the Packers down the stretch.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

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