GREEN BAY — Eddie Lacy isn’t on the football field right now, but the Packers running back is still making his presence felt inside the meeting room.
Running backs coach Ben Sirmans told reporters on Thursday night that Lacy has been active in positional meetings when he’s not undergoing rehab for his injured foot.
Over the years, the Packers have encouraged players on injured reserve to stick around team facilities during their recovery to attend meetings and stay involved with the process.
There was no better example of that than Pro Bowl receiver Jordy Nelson, who remained with the team after undergoing knee surgery last summer that sidelined him for the season.
“I think it’s important for any player, especially Eddie Lacy,” said Head Coach Mike McCarthy on Friday morning. “When these players go on IR, that’s a tough spot to be. … I think it’s a natural reaction once a player gets hurt, they don’t feel they’re as involved in the locker room and all those things. We’ve always been proactive in keeping those guys part of the football team. I think that’s important for Eddie to feel that way and make sure we take care of him.”
The Packers still have the option available to return a player to the active roster from injured reserve, so there is a chance Lacy could be back this season if he’s cleared by the end of the season.
Like Nelson’s work with the receivers, Lacy’s presence provides the added benefit of helping assist the team’s two healthy running backs, Don Jackson and Aaron Ripkowski.
“Your best player in the room is injured, so you take him out of the room, it obviously changes the dynamics, but also the experience, the interaction and the communication,” McCarthy said.
“You look at what Jordy Nelson did last year for those receivers just to be there every day to be part of it. From a coaching perspective, you need to try to elevate those guys a little bit so they can contribute and help the younger players. Eddie Lacy has a lot to offer. He’s played a lot of football, he’s a very smart, instinctive football player and he’s a great asset for our young running backs.”
McCarthy said running back James Starks (knee) and tight end Jared Cook (ankle) are making progress after both participated in Thursday’s practice in limited fashion.
The Packers have been cautious with Ty Montgomery (illness) this week, but McCarthy said the second-year receiver is getting in “in-tune” with the offense and doing well after sitting out against Atlanta.
Receiver Randall Cobb (hamstring), linebacker Clay Matthews (hamstring) and cornerback Quinten Rollins (groin) practiced this week, but their available for Sunday’s game against the Colts likely will be determined by how they come out of Saturday’s final practice.
“’Q’ is getting better. Randall is probably not as far along as he’d like to be,” McCarthy said. “Today’s an important day for their process to get back. Then, really post-practice and frankly all three of those guys we’ll see how they feel Sunday morning will be the (indicator) because they need to work Saturday also.”
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