Aaron Rodgers said on his ESPN Milwaukee radio show (http://bit.ly/BTzHn) today that he felt good during his first practice since suffering a broken collarbone but hasn’t been cleared to play yet by team doctor Patrick McKenzie.
Earlier in the day coach Mike McCarthy, when asked to rate Rodgers’ chances of playing between slim and none, said “closer to none.”
When asked if that was where his mind was at, Rodgers said: “I’m an optimist, so I’m not there.”
Rodgers talked about various aspects of his injury, which he suffered on Nov. 4 against the Chicago Bears.
On how practice went: “I felt like I was back on the team today. I felt like I was an actual football player. It was fun. It was fun to be back out there with the guys. It was a walk-through-tempo type of practice so I felt that was something I could manage. It’s good to put my helmet back on and feel like I was part of the team.”
On what he was able to do in practice: “I ran around and did a couple things. But nothing exciting. But it was good to be back out there with the guys. Like I’ve said, I haven’t had any pain throwing. The issues – which people probably don’t understand, they think, ‘Oh, he has no pain, why doesn’t he play?’ – it’s not that simple. There’s obviously risk-management and then there’s the flexibility and the strength, which are two other components of this injury that have to be where I want them to be in order to play. The flexibility and the strength have been the last to come and we’ll go from there.”
On the healing process: “We’re 22 days out from the injury today. Expectations have been high, and I’ve obviously been trying to push it as much as has been reasonable, but it’s a waiting game with broken bones and obviously it doesn’t just affect the bone, it affects the muscles around it and range of motion and the strength you have on that left side and in that shoulder. Obviously I know I’m a right-handed quarterback, but I still need to be able to have strength in that arm.”
On whether McCarthy and Dr. McKenzie need to be the voice of reason and protect him from himself and his desire to play: “I respect their opinion, so I obviously listen to them and take all that into account, but I think we’ve come to some agreements during my years as a player and a starter where we might not all agree that it’s right to play, but we agree that the risk is low enough that if I feel good enough to play, I can play. It think that’s kind of the way that we operate. I trust Mike to kind of save me from myself at times, and Doc to be the voice of reason. But I know my body better than anybody and it’s just a matter of combining the strength, the flexibility, the lack of pain and the low-risk. And when all those align, then I’ll be back on the field.”
On Matt Flynn affecting the timetable of his return: “That doesn’t influence my decision. My decision is based on how I feel and when I’m ready to play, I’ll play. And if I’m not ready, then I’m going to continue to support those guys and get them ready to play. But I was encouraged by Matt.”
On whether he has had another scan of his collarbone: “I’m not going to get into whether I’ve been scanned again or not.”
On whether the Packers can make a run when he return: “I think so. I really do. I think we’ve been through so much as a team this year, faced a lot of adversity, a lot of injuries, we should be getting healthy at the right time. We still have guys who are playing through injuries. It would be exciting to see, as DuJuan (Harris) actually mentioned to me in the locker room last week, what it would be like if we’d have been able to stay relatively healthy this season. Obviously he’s been out for the season and Bryan Bulaga out for the season and a number of other injuries throughout the year that have dealt us some tough blows. We’ve in the past been able to make runs in these types of situations. Everybody’s banged up at this point in the season, but we feel if we can just stay in the hunt here and just get into the tournament, anything can happen.”