Rodgers likely to miss at least 3 weeks with broken collarbone

Nov. 5, 2013
Packers-Bears analysis: Assessing Rodgers' injury
Packers-Bears analysis: Assessing Rodgers' injury: Mike Vandermause and Pete Dougherty talk about the effect of Aaron Rodgers' injury in Monday night's loss to Chicago and the Packers' chances of success during his absence. (Nov. 4, 2013)
Chicago's Shea McClellin sacks Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers in the first quarter Monday at Lambeau Field. Rodgers suffered a broken collarbone on the play. H. Marc Larson/Press-Gazette Media


Aaron Rodgers doesn’t know the timetable for his return after sustaining a broken collarbone against the Chicago Bears on Monday night, but it appears likely the Green Bay Packers quarterback will miss a minimum of three weeks.

That will leave the Packers’ offense in the hands of backup quarterback Seneca Wallace, who entered Monday’s game on the second series and struggled in the Packers’ 27-20 loss.

The Packers didn’t make a claim on former Rodgers backup Matt Flynn, who is a free agent after being released by the Buffalo Bills and clearing waivers.

According to multiple reports, the Packers plan to promote practice squad quarterback Scott Tolzien to the 53-man roster to serve as Wallace’s backup until Rodgers returns.

On his weekly ESPN Milwaukee radio show on Tuesday, Rodgers said he experienced more pain than he’d felt in a long time after getting sacked by Bears defensive lineman Shea McClellin less than 3 minutes into the game and injuring his left clavicle.

Rodgers said he has made quick recoveries from past injuries but in this case will have to wait for the bone to heal. He said the injury won’t require surgery.

“There has not been any timetable that has been talked about with me, the docs, coaches, anybody who represents me, any of my family members,” said Rodgers. “So we’re holding out hope that this will be a quick heal. But it is a significant injury.”

Packers coach Mike McCarthy said at his Tuesday press conference that he is getting ready to face the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday without Rodgers, who has missed just one game due to injury during his five-plus years as the Packers’ starting quarterback.

“I’m preparing Seneca to be the starter, that’s the way our game-planning has gone,” said McCarthy.

According to Dr. Daniel Kharrazi, an orthopedic surgeon at Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Los Angeles, broken collarbones normally take between three and six weeks to heal.

If the fracture is small and there’s no significant displacement of the bone, according to Kharrazi, the recovery will be faster, especially for a highly conditioned athlete such as Rodgers.

“It’s a difficult injury because there’s not a specific type of rehab you can do for this,” said Rodgers. “It’s not like you can get a massage or (stimulation) or the different various treatments that they have out there that can try to get you back quicker. You just have to wait for the bone to heal. That’s going to be the frustrating part, but I feel like I’ve been a quick healer in the past and am hopeful this will be on the short end of whatever prognosis comes up.”

Rodgers said he originally held out hope he could return to the game after going into the locker room at Lambeau Field for an X-ray in the first quarter.

“The amount of pain I was in, it was rough,” said Rodgers. “So I waited until halftime, saw the guys when they came in, and then I was just in too much pain at that point, realized it wasn’t going to happen.”

Rodgers, who watched the second half in street clothes on the sideline, said he was genuinely touched by the greeting he received from fans when he returned to the field.

“When I walked back out on that field — I’m getting a little choked up here just thinking about it — but that was one of the top five moments of my career there,” said Rodgers. “The reception I got from the fans … it was pretty special.”

The Packers have expressed confidence in Wallace, even though he threw for only 114 yards against the Bears and posted a lowly 53.4 passer rating.

“He’s played a lot of games, been in the league a long time,” said McCarthy. “I look for him to improve with a week of preparation and we’ll set a plan that will help him with that.”

Wallace has a 6-15 record as a starter. His last victory came in 2010 with the Cleveland Browns.

“We need to have faith in the next-man-up mentality,” said Rodgers. “Seneca took probably four snaps with the first-team offense last week. So he’s going to get a chance to go through the reps with the first team, and I think we’ve got a lot of confidence in him. That’s why we brought him in. He’s been throwing it really well in practice. He’s very bright.

“Obviously the players are behind him, but as a fan base (we) need to get behind him as well.”

The only other time a Packers backup quarterback has been forced into starting duty because of an injury in the past 21 years was in 2010, when Flynn played against the New England Patriots after Rodgers suffered a concussion.

Brett Favre never missed a start in 16 seasons after becoming the starter in 1992, and Rodgers has started 86 of 88 games since 2008.

The Packers (5-3) are locked in a three-way tie for first place in the NFC North with Chicago and Detroit.

After the Eagles game, Rodgers could miss a road game against the New York Giants and a home game against Minnesota. The three games after that are at Detroit, home against Atlanta and at Dallas.

McCarthy said he doesn’t plan to make major changes on offense with Wallace in the lineup.

“I think it’s critical, and when you get in these spots, that one individual doesn’t hold back the unit,” said McCarthy. “That’s especially true at the quarterback position, and that’s why Seneca Wallace is here. We will play offense like we’ve always played offense.”

Cornerback Tramon Williams said no one in the locker room has lost confidence in the team despite the injury to Rodgers.

“It may be an excuse to everybody outside this room, but not to us,” said Williams. “We feel we still got too many good players in this room … we still feel that we can win games.”

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