Packers may know more about Rodgers today
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
GREEN BAY--Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was moving around, throwing lasers and taking snaps with the No. 1 offense in practice Wednesday, just as he did before breaking his left collarbone on Nov. 4 against Chicago.
And he was doing it without pain.
Yet Rodgers might as well have been wearing a question mark on the back of his jersey instead of his customary No. 12 given all the uncertainty surrounding his return to action. Until he gets clearance from team physician Patrick McKenzie, Rodgers will be traveling to Dallas this weekend as a spectator.
“Aaron still is not medically cleared, and I think it’s important to stay in tune with that because the topic of ‘Is he playing in the game?’ vs. ‘Is he medically cleared?’ those are two totally different issues,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said.
“So, Aaron’s obviously very important to our organization. He’s the face of our franchise.
“Until he’s medically cleared, just like any other player going through a significant injury, that’s really where the focus will be.”
One way to interpret McCarthy’s comments is that Rodgers may have resembled the guy who won a Super Bowl MVP award at Texas Stadium three years ago, but it doesn’t mean he’s ready to compete there again. As Rodgers stated Tuesday, until a CT scan shows that significant healing has taken place in the fracture area, the Packers aren’t going to clear him.
The biggest concern is that if the bone isn’t healed and he were driven into the turf the way he was against the Bears 5½ weeks ago, he could suffer a displaced fracture, which would sideline him for good this season and could require surgery to attach a plate to his collarbone.
“I’m very optimistic that he’s going to get back to full strength, and when that time comes I’m sure we’ll let everybody know about it,” McCarthy said. “I clearly understand the importance of Aaron to the team, to the NFL, but we’ve got to make sure we do our due diligence and go through the process of getting him healthy.”
A hurdle Rodgers seems to have cleared after a frustrating time last week is practicing without pain. When he tried to do anything more than throw from a stationary position last week, he experienced discomfort, which forced him to suspend his workouts.
In individual drills Wednesday that were conducted during the portion of practice the media is allowed to watch, Rodgers was far more mobile and in one drill ran around and through blocking dummies and threw across his body while rolling to the left. The throws had a lot of steam on them.
Asked about Rodgers’ pain level, McCarthy said, “I don’t think he was in pain today from what I saw. That’s a question for him.”
Rodgers rescheduled his weekly session with reporters for today, so he was not available for comment. McCarthy indicated Monday that Rodgers would be re-examined after practicing on Wednesday, so it’s possible the news conference was pushed back a day so that results of the latest scan were known.
Though McCarthy did not specify what Rodgers did in practice, tight end Andrew Quarless spilled the beans when asked whether he had seen anything to make him think Rodgers would be ready this week.
“Twelve looked real good today,” Quarless said. “It was good to see him out there, really working with the offense. He was out there before but wasn’t working as much with the offense, but today he took some offensive reps, which is a great thing for the team, definitely.”
When asked if Rodgers had taken snaps with the No. 1 offense, Quarless said, “Yes, sir.”
That information may not even help the Cowboys. Dallas coach Jason Garrett said in a conference call earlier in the day that the defense was already preparing for Rodgers. If Rodgers can’t play they would have spent valuable time preparing for a guy who won’t be in uniform.
The decision the Packers face in whether to clear Rodgers is familiar to Cowboys quarterback and Burlington native Tony Romo.
Romo broke his left collarbone on Oct. 26, 2010, and missed the final 10 games of the season.
The big difference is that Romo suffered a displaced or complete fracture of the clavicle, whereas Rodgers only suffered a crack along the same bone.
But Romo said figuring out when you’re ready to come back isn’t as easy as just showing the medical staff you can throw the ball.
“It’s very difficult,” Romo said in a conference call Wednesday. “Obviously, the discomfort — if you’re feeling it at all — you can’t come back and play, but even more than that, even when you get relatively where you feel like it’s pain-free, it still doesn’t mean you’re ready to play just because it’s such an easy thing to hurt again.
“And it’s a little different in the sense that if you come back right when you feel like you’re healthy, there’s just so many cases of people come down with another collarbone injury, the same one just re-injuring it. That really plays a big role in determining when you come back.”
Romo was asked if he would be surprised if the Packers decided to shut down Rodgers for the rest of the season. He said that type of decision usually is made when there’s nothing left to gain in the season.
“I think, in our case, a lot of it was dependent upon where we were and what position we were in and if we had the opportunity to continue to play,” Romo said. “We didn’t that year, so it made the decision easier on the doctors, I think.
“I was doing everything I could to get back out there. I know Aaron’s doing the same thing. You also have to be smart about it. If he’s been feeling good for a couple of weeks then I think that’s something where you could really have a chance to say his re-injury factor has gone down and if that’s the case you might be able to go.”