Packers RB Starks' status unclear after spraining knee vs. Bucs

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Running back James Starks has a sprained knee and a sore ankle, and the Green Bay Packers aren't sure if they'll have him back in time for their Thanksgiving Day game at Detroit.

Starks injured his knee late during the fourth quarter of Sunday's victory over Tampa Bay. The Packers did not practice Monday, and Starks likely would not have been able to go if they did.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy said the injury isn't as bad as it initially appeared to be and is holding out hope that Starks might be able to practice Tuesday.

"He tested out well, and he has a chance to possibly do something on the field," McCarthy said. "That's our plan with him."

Facing a quick turnaround to play a physical Detroit team that beat them at Ford Field late last season, the Packers need a couple of key players to heal up quickly.

Wide receiver Greg Jennings has a bruised knee, but McCarthy said he may be able to practice Tuesday. And with left tackle Chad Clifton already out with a hamstring injury, backup Marshall Newhouse has a knee injury, although McCarthy didn't seem particularly concerned about it.

But Starks might be the biggest injury concern. Fellow running back Ryan Grant said Starks is generally in good spirits, a potential indication that he won't be out for very long.

"I expect him to be OK," Grant said. "Spirits are always a good bet in general. If a player's in good spirits, it's positive."

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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