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Eddie Lacy placed on injured reserve, career with Packers likely over

Eddie Lacy's ankle injury will require surgery, landing him on injured reserve and casting doubt on his future with the Packers.

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The Green Bay Packers already ruled out Eddie Lacy for Thursday night's game against the Chicago Bears. Now, they have to plan for life without him for the foreseeable future. On Thursday, the team placed Lacy on injured reserve.

As reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Lacy’s trip to the IR results an ankle injury that will require surgery. However, the Packers do not yet know if the procedure has the potential to wipe out the rest of his season. If his recovery goes smoothly, the team can choose to reactivate him after a period of at least eight weeks, making Week 15 his earliest possible return date.

At the same time, Green Bay has to weigh Lacy’s return against that of top cornerback Sam Shields, who also landed on IR this week. Shields missed the last four games with a concussion, an injury which he appears probable to recover from before the end of the season. If the secondary continues to struggle in Shields’ absence, the Packers’ would likely use their return option on him rather than Lacy and put the onus on their two-time MVP quarterback to make up the difference on offense.

With Lacy on the shelf for at least most of the remaining regular-season games, the Packers now turn to the newly acquired Knile Davis and versatile wideout Ty Montgomery to handle the backfield workload. The team also elevated rookie tailback Don Jackson from the practice squad to fill Lacy’s vacated roster spot.

Lacy, 26, is currently playing out the final year of his rookie contract. He becomes an unrestricted free agent at the conclusion of the league year. Given his mounting injury and weight issues, the team’s inclination to use of their one return option on Shields, and general manager Ted Thompson’s general reluctance for re-signing declining talent, it seems possible if not likely that he has played his final game for the Packers.

In five games in 2016, Lacy has rushed 71 times for 360 yards. For his career, he has registered 788 carries for 3,435 yards and 23 touchdowns, adding another 900 yards and six scores on 101 catches. Lacy won Offensive Rookie of the Year, Pro Bowl, and second-team All-Pro honors in 2013.

Jason B. Hirschhorn is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and covers the NFL for Sports on Earth and SB Nation. He also serves as the senior writer and editor for Acme Packing Company, a Green Bay Packers blog.