Packers' Starks will be game-time decsion with sprained knee

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Injured Green Bay Packers running back James Starks may be able to play Thursday at Detroit.

Coach Mike McCarthy said the decision would be made before the game. Starks, the team's top rusher, was listed as questionable on the injury report after participating in a short walk-through session Wednesday.

"I thought he looked good today," McCarthy said. "Today was pretty much a little up-tempo, walk-through-type practice, just more of going through all of the different situations and assignments that we felt we needed to hit that we were not able to get done yesterday."

Starks suffered a sprained knee and an ankle injury in the final minutes of the win over Tampa Bay on Sunday. He was a limited participant in practice Tuesday, the only extensive on-field work the Packers had this week.

Players were not made available to reporters Wednesday, but a day earlier Starks expressed optimism about playing against the rival Lions.

"I was going through a little bit of pain, but I can deal with pain," Starks said. "Running backs play with a lot of pain, so I can get through it. I just have to start tolerating it a little better. I feel good, though. I feel better."

Starks has 541 rushing yards this season after being a big contributor as a rookie late in the 2010 season during the Packers' run to the Super Bowl title. Ryan Grant is the starter at running back, but the veteran has rushed for only 267 yards and had his playing time diminished in favor of Starks the last several games.

McCarthy indicated the team won't scale back Starks' workload if he is cleared to play on Thursday. The team's other running backs are undrafted rookie Brandon Saine and versatile fullback John Kuhn. Saine hasn't played a down on offense since being promoted from the practice squad three weeks ago.

"If James Starks goes tomorrow, he's playing," McCarthy said. "We're not going to put players in the game that can only go so much. Ryan Grant's ready to go. Brandon's ready to go. We'll be fine either way. If James goes, he's going to be part of the rotation."

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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