GREEN BAY - Aaron Rodgers fielded questions Wednesday afternoon less than 24 hours after being medically cleared to play. It was the first time the Green Bay Packers starting quarterback has spoken publicly since October.
Rodgers has been sidelined since suffering a broken collarbone Oct. 15 at Minnesota.
Here are some brief highlights:
When did you know you could return Week 15?
"It was what we targeted when I had the injury, was getting the strength back, getting the flexibility back, and hoping I’d be ready to go this week."
Is there any muscular atrophy in your shoulder?
"No, it’s not present right now. I wouldn’t be out there. No, I mean, we worked through all that. The strength and the flexibility came back the quickest. It was just waiting on the bone to be ready to play."
Do you need to alter the way you play Sunday since it’s your first game back from shoulder surgery?
"Well, I don’t know. You have to play. I wouldn’t be playing if I didn’t feel confident playing the way that I played my entire career. So that game helped back in 2013, knowing what I can do and absorb, but it’s not worth it unless you can go out there and play confidently."
What are risks of coming back now?
"We’ve talked about everything, and I’m confident knowing all the information. That’s why I’m going to play."
How much has the bone healed?
"I’m not going to get into that. I’m cleared."
How much have you been able to prepare for play when not working on your shoulder?
"We’ve been talking about the plan all week. I actually got a jump on the film last week in the hopes that I would get a chance to be cleared this week. So I’ve seen a lot already on Carolina, but, no, we had good conversations Monday and Tuesday. You guys knew shortly after we made the decision that I was able to be cleared."
How did the experience rehabbing in 2013 help you this time?
"Well, it’s a long process. It’s tough mentally. You have to just kind of attack the rehab every day. That’s why I thank these guys. They allowed me to push the limits every single day on what we should be doing, and always allowed me to do as much as possible without putting any risk on it. There were certain timetables we had. Throwing it at four weeks, and moving around and doing the lifting on schedule like we did, those guys were great. Mark Lovat and his staff in the weight room were fantastic. I worked out more in that time off than I do in the regular season. I work out three times in the regular season, and I was really working out every day with those guys, and doing my treatment. It’s a long process, but I stayed pretty close to the team. I was around meetings and obviously engaged on the field on game days."
Can you tell in practice whether the sharpness if back in your game?
"I mean, I don’t know. I feel confident I will be able to go out there and play the way I’ve always played, but I’ve been off for seven games and been out for a while. So it’s going to take getting out there, getting that first pass, getting that first hit, and I’ll probably settle in."
What’s it going to take to make playoffs?
"It’s going to take winning all three of these games. Two big wins in overtime to get us in this position. We know we obviously need a little bit of help along the way, but we’ve got to take care of business and win these next three."
Is your availability these next three weeks dependent on the team being in playoff contention?
"I’m not sure. We’re just focused on Carolina right now."