Green Bay Packers running back DuJuan Harris missed most of training camp because of a knee injury. Last week, the second-year back was activated from the team’s PUP list and saw his first preseason action against the Seattle Seahawks on Friday. Harris only had two yards on three carries before reinjuring his knee on a screen pass.
At the time, the injury didn’t appear to be major. Harris limped off the field and team doctors assessed the situation. Harris didn’t return to the game, and it was believed that Harris may be out the next couple of weeks and unlikely to go for the season opener.
Coach McCarthy said Harris was seeking a second opinion on the knee over the weekend, and the final verdict was much worse than the team suspected.
In his press conference following the team’s last training camp practice, Coach McCarthy announced that Harris will be placed on injured reserve for the season. Mike Vandermause of the Green Bay Press Gazette tweeted out the breaking news during the press conference.
MM: DuJuan Harris will go on injured reserve today. It’s a tough one, would have been impactful player. Need to get him healthy.
— Mike Vandermause (@MikeVandermause) August 27, 2013
This injury news comes at a bit of a surprise for a team who has already lost starting left tackle Bryan Bulaga for the season. Coach McCarthy did say he’s not sure if they’ll designate Harris as their player on injured reserved eligible to return to the team after week eight of the season.
This is a recent rule that could allow Harris to return to the lineup midway through the season if he recovers and is fully healthy, but if his knee injury requires surgery to repairs it’s unlikely he’ll be ready to go even by week eight of the regular season.
The silver lining in this situation is that the Packers have some young depth at running back and are now fortunate for selecting two backs in the draft. Second-round pick Eddie Lacy is now the clear favorite for the starting running back job, and the Packers could be in a situation where they keep both veterans Alex Green and James Starks on their final roster.
Heading into camp, it looked like the last roster spot at running back would come down to either Green or Starks, but both backs have had good camps, according to Coach McCarthy, and could offer some depth at a position dealing with some injuries.
The unknown in the backfield continues to be rookie fourth-round pick Jonathan Franklin, whose role on the team is still undefined. Franklin may fall behind Green and Starks on the depth chart to start the season, but look for him to transition into the third-down back role as he picks up the offense and develops as a runner.