Originally posted on Fox Sports Wisconsin  |  Last updated 9/30/11
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Ryan Grant didnt take the news very well on Friday. Team doctors informed the Green Bay Packers starting running back that he will need to sit out Sundays game as his bruised kidney continues to heal, and hell join right guard Bryan Bulaga (knee) on the sideline against Denver. If it was my call, Id play, Grant said Friday at his locker. It was non-negotiable. But even with it being non-negotiable, I tried to make my plea (to play). Grant was hit in the back by the helmet of Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher in Week 3. After briefly leaving the game and being checked out on the sideline, Grant did return. However, he had to be taken to a local hospital by ambulance after the game when he had blood in his urine. It was determined at the hospital that his kidney had been affected by Urlachers hit. If you get hit again, I guess it can increase to a (kidney) rupture, Grant said. In my position, every shot could be that type of shot. I dont think the shot that I took on Sunday was any different from a lot of shots. Grant admitted that its probably in his best interest for him not to play and that this is a situation where a player needs to be held back against his own desire to compete. Ill play with whatever, and Ive played with whatever before in the past, Grant said. Its even harder when I feel fine. The soreness that I have, I dont think it has anything to do with my kidney. Its nothing that I wouldnt think I could play with. If Ive got to sit out, Ive got to sit out. I have no call. Although Grant was the Packers starting running back in all three games this season, second-year backup James Starks was given more carries in Weeks 1 and 2. It seemed that Starks was getting close to surpassing Grant as the teams featured back until Grant had a breakout game against the Bears in Week 3. Grant ran for 92 yards on 17 attempts and was co-winner of the teams Offensive Player of the Week game ball. As Grant played well, Starks struggled. Starks had only 5 yards on 11 carries, as well as a fourth-quarter fumble that turned into a Chicago touchdown on the next play. Grant was knocked out of Green Bays Super Bowl-winning season in 2010 by an ankle injury and was just starting to regain his form. Regardless of what I did the week before, I dont like missing games, Grant said. I missed 20 last year. I dont want to miss any more. Before his injury, Grant was one of the top 10 running backs in the NFL in 2008 and 09. Back-to-back seasons with 1,200-plus rushing yards were the ninth- and seventh-most in the league those years.In Grants absence, coach Mike McCarthy said Starks will be part of the main rotation at running back with fullback John Kuhn. McCarthy added that rookie Alex Green will get in there at some point to take his first NFL carry. It will be Starks first-career regular season start, although he did start in all four of the Packers postseason games last year, including the Super Bowl. I think James is fine under pressure, Kuhn said. Pressure makes you play a little bit better, makes you stay focused a little bit more. Starks best NFL game so far was in a high-pressure situation when he ran for 123 yards in Philadelphia in the first round of the playoffs last season. Bulaga, who started 12 games as a rookie last season, was injured early in the Packers Week 3 game against the Bears and fell to the ground clutching his knee. The team initially feared he would miss the season, but the injury was diagnosed as a bruise and sprain, and he wasnt ruled out of Sundays game until Friday.
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