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Packers hope new running back can be ready Thursday night

The Sports Xchange GREEN BAY -- If Knile Davis can prove to be an exceptionally quick study, the Green Bay Packers could have more than one halfback available for the game against the Chicago Bears on Thursday night. General manager Ted Thompson ...

The Sports Xchange

 

GREEN BAY - If Knile Davis can prove to be an exceptionally quick study, the Green Bay Packers could have more than one halfback available for the game against the Chicago Bears on Thursday night.

General manager Ted Thompson made a rare in-season trade Tuesday. The Packers acquired Davis from the Kansas City Chiefs in exchange for a conditional draft pick.

No sooner did Davis arrive in Green Bay on Tuesday morning than he was on the practice field, running plays with the scout team.

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“Right now, I’m learning,” Davis said after practice. “So, they haven’t told me anything as far as playing time or what I’m going to get (Thursday). We’ll see as the week goes.”

The addition of Davis, a fourth-year pro buried on the Chiefs’ depth chart, gives the Packers a much-needed reinforcement. They played Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys, a 30-16 loss, with Eddie Lacy as their lone halfback.

James Starks, the lone understudy on the roster the first month of the season, underwent surgery last weekend for a torn meniscus. Coach Mike McCarthy said Tuesday that Starks will be sidelined at least two more weeks.

Also, Lacy reportedly will miss the game Thursday as he seeks a second opinion on a sore ankle.

Lacy sat out practice Tuesday and is set to see foot specialist Dr. Robert Anderson this week, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter and NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport. The latter also reported that Lacy is expected to miss a few weeks.

If Lacy is out, the Packers will have only Davis and Don Jackson, promoted from the practice squad this week.

Though Davis played sparingly for the Chiefs with just one rushing attempt for minus-two yards in four games this season, McCarthy is hopeful the former third-round draft pick from Arkansas can pick up the playbook in a hurry and be activated Thursday.

“It’s obviously a big challenge when you’re on a short week, but he’s definitely a talented young player,” McCarthy said. “(We) had a chance to compete against him and see him play live in the preseason game, and he had a lot of production that night. So, just looking forward to getting him in the mix and get going.”

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The 5-foot-11, 227-pound Davis ran for 58 yards and a touchdown in 14 carries as the starter for the Chiefs when they hosted the Packers in the teams’ final game of the preseason Sept. 1.

Davis’ first practice with the Packers also included work on special teams, where he has the pedigree to help on kick returns. He’s averaged 27.2 yards on kickoff returns in his career, the sixth-best average in the NFL since 2013, and also scored two touchdowns.

“I feel like I’m off the reins,” Davis said about joining the Packers. “I’ve been on the sideline, I’ve been itching to get in the game, be part of the team. I did what I could (with the Chiefs). (But) I’m just excited to be a part of Green Bay and do what I can here. Hopefully, my role is bigger.”

To make room for Davis on the 53-man roster, the Packers placed Pro Bowl cornerback Sam Shields on injured reserve. The seventh-year pro has been sidelined since suffering a concussion near the end of the Packers’ season-opening win at the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sept. 11.

Shields has suffered at least five documented head injuries in his career, including one that kept him from playing four games late last season.

“The knowledge we know about concussions now, it’s a serious situation, and as many as he’s had, we have to pray for him and hope everything is good,” defensive back Micah Hyde said. “We’re here for him, he knows that, and just glad to see him coming around, joking around. That’s Sam Shields.”

McCarthy indicated Tuesday the team is being overly cautious with Shields. He still could return before the end of the season after he sits out the required eight weeks on IR.

“It’s just important to go one day at a time and make sure we get him healthy,” McCarthy said.

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The Packers have been stressed considerably at cornerback early in the season.

Second-year starters Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins have groin injuries. Rollins won’t play Thursday, and Randall could be sidelined as well after aggravating his injury Sunday.

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