GREEN BAY – Aaron Rodgers played his 2018 season not only on a sprained left knee, but also a broken leg.
For the first time Tuesday, the Green Bay Packers quarterback revealed the extent of the knee injury that affected his entire 2018 season.
Rodgers, appearing on ESPN Wisconsin radio, told the “Wilde and Tausch” show he played with a tibial plateau fracture and sprained MCL in his left knee.
Rodgers suffered the injury in the first half of last season’s opener against the Chicago Bears, and he was still dealing with it four months later.
A tibial plateau fracture is a break of the upper part of the shinbone.
“After the first quarter of the season, first game,” Rodgers said, ‘I really wasn’t 100 percent the entire year.”
Rodgers injured his knee when 294-pound Bears defensive lineman Roy Robertson-Harris, rushing up the middle on a stunt, crashed down on him for a sack. With his foot trapped against the field, Rodgers’ left knee buckled inside.
“If you watch the hit back,” Rodgers said, “just my two bones are coming together on the outside, just kind of made an indent fracture. Very painful. The good thing was it’s not super weight bearing, like load bearing every single time. but there definitely was some movement and things you do naturally that affected it.”
The Packers opened their offseason program under new head coach Matt LaFleur this week. Rodgers said he feels healthy now, ready for the season. He opted to get “a series of shots” in his knee instead of surgery. But there’s no question, he said, the injury affected the way he played last season, diminishing his mobility.
It wasn’t just the broken leg, either. Rodgers said his sprained MCL was almost healed by the time the Packers traveled to the Detroit Lions five weeks later, but a hit early in that game from Lions linebacker Christian Jones “reset” the injury.
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“I thought there were some times,” Rodgers said,”that the mobility definitely hurt me. In years past, when I could extend plays or really get out, and whether I’m running the ball or throwing on the run, it affected some of those throws on the run when I wasn’t just throwing the ball away.
“I’m proud of the fact that I started 16 games. It’s disappointing how it ended.”
Rodgers’ season ended not on the field, but with him being evaluated for a concussion. Rodgers received the third documented concussion in his career early in the Packers’ finale against Detroit, on a hit that jarred his helmet off his head.
While his knee was problematic last season, Rodgers said his concussion was an especially “scary” moment.
“I couldn’t see,” Rodgers said. “I lost vision, definitely peripheral. I got hit and I came over to the sideline, and I was sitting on the bench, and then I went back out there. By that third series, the normal 180-plus peripheral shrunk to like blinders.”