Packers QB Aaron Rodgers takes snaps from trainer during practice
GREEN BAY – Quarterback Aaron Rodgers taking snaps and whipping a towel in a throwing motion was of great interest to the reporters covering practice Wednesday afternoon.
Whether it was a sign he is ahead of schedule or just doing what quarterbacks do when they’re four weeks removed from having a broken right collarbone surgically repaired, it was the first time he had done anything in front of the media while his teammates were practicing.
"I think he’s making really good progress," coach Mike McCarthy said Thursday morning. "I know the training staff and the strength and conditioning staff are very pleased with where he is. He’s moving right along."
Rodgers worked on cardio and agility drills and then took snaps from a trainer simulating both the under center kind and shotgun. A couple times, Rodgers playfully threw the ball a few yards back to the trainer with a three-quarters motion.
Later, Rodgers whipped a towel down in a throwing motion with his right arm.
"For a guy who just had surgery several weeks ago, you wouldn’t be able to tell that he had surgery," linebacker Clay Matthews said after practice. "We’ve still got to wait but it’s good to see.
"At the same time, we’ve still got to hold up our end of the bargain and steal a few wins throughout these next several weeks in hopes that we’ve got a shot with him coming back."
Aside from making sure the collarbone is completely healed, the biggest hurdle Rodgers will face in a possible comeback this season is maintaining good range of motion with the muscles in his shoulder.
Some of the rehab work he did focused on his throwing motion.
Rodgers was placed on injured reserve Oct. 20 after breaking the collarbone in an Oct. 15 game against the Minnesota Vikings. He is eligible to start practicing six weeks from that date and eligible to play again two weeks after that.
When he spoke to reporters on Nov. 3, Rodgers gave no guarantees that he would be able to return. He said a lot of factors will play into whether he plays this season.
“First of all, I want to be healthy,” he said then. “That’s the most important thing. But if we’re healthy in eight weeks and it would make sense to come back, then I’m going to come back."
The Packers appear to be in good health overall.
Safety Morgan Burnett (hamstring) and running back Ty Montgomery (ribs) both did sprints and agility drills on the sideline during practice. Running back Aaron Jones (knee) was not present.
Cornerback Kevin King (shoulder) practiced after getting injured against Chicago Sunday and defensive tackle Quinton Dial (chest) returned to practice after a two-game absence.
Also, cornerback Demetri Goodson, currently on the physically unable to perform list, began practicing, kicking off a three-week window in which he can practice without the Packers having to put him on the 53-man roster. After the three weeks, they must decide whether to activate, put him on injured reserve or cut him.