GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — The Green Bay Packers are dealing with yet another loss.
Running back Cedric Benson, who has had 71 of the team's 111 carries, was placed on injured reserve Wednesday because of a sprained left foot, but was designated to return. He must sit out eight games before he can play again, though he will be eligible to practice after six weeks.
"We feel that he can come back," coach Mike McCarthy said. "A foot sprain is definitely a tough injury to come back from, but within that time frame we feel that he definitely has a chance. ... He's a true pro. He's been excellent. He spends a lot of time in the weight room. I could see him being one of those guys that comes back and plays the last four weeks of the season."
But Benson's injury is another blow for the struggling Packers (2-3). Since opening last season with 13 straight wins, Green Bay has dropped five of its last nine games, including a 30-27 loss in Indianapolis on Sunday on a last-minute touchdown by rookie Andrew Luck. The defense, which gave up the most yardage in the NFL last season, again ranks in the bottom half of the NFC.
The bigger problem, however, is the offense. The Packers aren't putting up anywhere close to the points they did last year, and Aaron Rodgers has yet to show the form that won him the MVP title last year. Though he is third in the league in completion percentage (68.8), he is 21st in average yards gained (6.92).
Now the Packers are without Benson until December, at the earliest. They travel to unbeaten Houston for the Sunday night game.
The running game may seem like an afterthought in McCarthy's offense — he acknowledged there's a temptation to give his quarterback "too much" — but Green Bay needs some balance, and Benson was a good fit. He had revived his career in Cincinnati after early struggles — on the field and off — with the Bears, and seemed to grow more comfortable in Green Bay's offense with each game.