Aaron Rodgers said his broken collarbone was scanned “in the last 24 hours,” and a decision on his availability to face Chicago with the NFC North at stake will be made on Thursday.
“I thought as of last week there’d be a lot more healing that would have gone on,” Rodgers told ESPN Milwaukee’s Jason Wilde on his radio show on Tuesday. “Learned a lot about the clavicle and the kind of blood flow -- or lack of -- that it gets as being a reason it didn’t look as good as we all wanted it last week. Yeah, it’s been a frustrating process. Difficult, obviously. I want to be out on the field with my teammates fighting for a playoff spot. I think we all wish it wasn’t as dramatic as it has been.”
As has been the case throughout Rodgers’ attempted comeback – he missed his seventh consecutive game on Sunday against Pittsburgh -- the Packers and Rodgers must balance the risk vs. the reward. The reward is obvious, with the Packers in position to earn a playoff berth with a win on Sunday afternoon at Chicago. The risk is obvious, too. Is the collarbone completely healed? If not, how close is it to being healed and what are the chances of a re-injury? What are the long-term risks if he’s hit and falls awkwardly?
“I’ve been feeling better every week,” Rodgers said. “Last week, felt great at practice. Heard a funny comment this week about practicing with a red jersey, and if you could play in a red jersey, that would make things a lot easier. I think some fans and players think this game is going to be a seven-on-seven format in some way.
“Is the bone healed or is there a large risk of going back out there that’s too great, that the organization would not want to put me out there? Obviously, I want to be out there. I know what’s at stake. This is an important week for us. We’re somehow back in this position to be able to get into the playoffs. What a better way to do that than against the Chicago Bears?”
According to Rodgers, Dr. Pat McKenzie has sent Rodgers’ scan to experts for second opinions on the risk. Rodgers added that it’s “inappropriate” for fans to direct negative and “hateful” comments at McKenzie, as well as coach Mike McCarthy or general manager Ted Thompson.
“If you want to be mad at anything in the situation, be mad at the fact my collarbone hasn’t healed the way we all wanted it to,” Rodgers said.
Rodgers, as he has done for the past few weeks, took aim at those leaking information to national reporters. Before Sunday’s game, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported through a source that Rodgers insisted that McCarthy use the term “organization decision” to explain why Rodgers hasn’t been cleared to play. Mortensen went on to say that Rodgers was sensitive about comparisons to Brett Favre and his reputation for toughness.
“There’s four people who know what’s going on with this as much as anybody,” Rodgers said of himself, McKenzie, Thompson and McCarthy. “Anyone else’s opinion out there is not informed, nice way to put it. Any type of hypotheses out there or guesses on what’s going on or the state of my mind or Mike, or Mike and I’s relationship, to me is highly inappropriate. Anyone who would be a source without putting their name to it and talk about my injury within the organization is a coward. I don’t think there’s anybody in the organization who would do that. Again, there’s four people who know what’s going on.”
The Packers did not practice on Tuesday – they worked in groups in the team’s indoor facility – and will not on Wednesday, with McCarthy giving the players, coaches and training staff the day off to celebrate Christmas. The team will return to work on Thursday.
Will Rodgers be directing the offense? Or will it be Matt Flynn?
“Ultimately, it’s my body and my injury,” Rodgers said. “There’s going to be a lot of opinions about it, but those people are making opinions about somebody else’s body, someone else’s collarbone, someone else’s future, someone else’s career. That’s an easy position to do. It’s easy to be an unnamed source. I think there’s a lot of courage in standing up and talking about things and putting your name behind it and not hiding behind something or throwing potentials or scenarios or acting like you know what’s going on. Ultimately, there’s four people who have a really good pulse of what’s going on. Everybody else is just making conjectures about what they think is really going on.”
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.