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Daily mailbag: Ryan Grant's roster spot

Anil of Champaign, Ill., took note of Adam Schefter's report that Green Bay Packers running back Ryan Grant could be healed from ankle surgery in 10 to 12 weeks and wonders why the team placed him on season-ending injured reserve: "It seems dumb to force Grant to miss the end of the season + playoffs when he might be (mostly) healthy by that point."

In an interview with ESPNMilwaukee.com, Grant admitted he discussed that scenario with Packers general manager Ted Thompson. According to Grant, the decision to end his season was made in part to protect his future but also because the team didn't want to carry him on its active roster for so long:

"It was an up-top decision based on us only having one other back on roster," Grant said. "It would put them in a bind."

Coach Mike McCarthy was peppered with similar questions during his Wednesday media briefing. Here's how McCarthy responded:

It's clearly a medical situation, and we felt it was in his best interest to go ahead and have the operation. There's always a projection when you have players coming back from surgery. You can sit here and say he would have been ready for the playoffs based on someone else that went through it in the past. You look at past injuries, but it's all about the individual. It's about the doctor's opinion of the specific injury. That's why we made the roster move.

I know that former Packers tailback Dorsey Levens came back in a similar situation during the 1998 season, but in this case I don't blame the Packers for shelving Grant as long as it was, as McCarthy said, based on medical advice. Levens' situation has no relevance here. Every injury is different. Is it worth carrying an injured player for another 11 weeks because he might help you at the end of the season? Debatable.

But if you want to criticize the Packers, you can fairly ask why they entered the season with only two tailbacks on their roster and wonder if their commitment to player development at other positions unduly influenced their willingness to carry Grant. Hopefully Grant is on injured reserve purely because the medical report suggested he couldn't help them this year. If it's because the Packers didn't want to cut loose the 53rd player on their roster to keep him active, then that's a problem.