Aaron Rodgers not expected to have surgery on toe at this time, but Packers still gathering information

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GREEN BAY – Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is seeking other medical opinions but it appears he will not have surgery on his fractured left toe.

NFL Network reported Monday morning that Rodgers wasn't planning on surgery "at this time" and was hopeful the bye week would allow the toe to heal enough that he would be in less discomfort when the Packers return to face the Chicago Bears on Dec. 12.

Coach Matt LaFleur said late Monday afternoon he didn't know if Rodgers is holding off on having surgery as reported but that his understanding was the quarterback was still gathering information on what to do.

Rodgers said last week there was a procedure that would allow him to return after the bye week, but he gave no indication after the victory over the Rams on Sunday if that was still an option.

He said he would undergo tests Monday and it's possible he or the Packers' medical team wants multiple doctors to confirm that he is making the right decision not to have the procedure.

Asked whether Rodgers had decided against surgery, LaFleur said, "I don't know where that's at. I know he's gathering other opinions. So, we'll see where that goes."

Rodgers has been dealing with the broken toe since his return from the COVID-19 list two weeks ago. 

He has played in three games since breaking the small toe on his left foot while working out at home during his quarantine and displayed a prolonged limp for the first time against the Rams. The Packers will return to practice Monday, but it's likely Rodgers wouldn't take part in practice until midweek at the earliest.

LaFleur said he didn't know if there would be considerable healing during the bye that might make it possible for Rodgers to practice or play with less pain.

"I'll be honest with you, I don't know the time frame for that to heal," he said. "I know he's battling through. I think you could see it, at the end of the game, as the game wears on, he starts to have a more noticeable limp.

"But he's as tough as they come. He's played through so many things throughout the course of his career. And I think definitely he's a guy that wants to be out there at practice, too. He wants to be out there practicing with his teammates, and not only for himself but for those other guys and making sure that that everybody is is on top of their game."

In describing what his bye week will be like, Rodgers said Sunday, “I’ll get treatment every single day." He said not having to go through practice prior to the Rams game left his toe feeling better than the previous week so it's possible he will be limited to walkthroughs again next week.

“The most important thing is healing and taking care of my toe,” Rodgers said.

Packers-Ravens game time moved

The Packers' Dec. 19 game at Baltimore has been shifted to a 3:25 p.m. start on Fox.

The game originally was scheduled to start at noon.

The Ravens' 8-3 record is the best in the AFC. 

Packers eager to say hi to the bye

Before sending his players off on their weeklong vacation, defensive coordinator Joe Barry left them with what could amount to a horror story of the not-so-good-old days.

It used to be, Barry told them, players had to practice throughout the week of a bye. It was only that weekend they would be given off. 

"They were like, 'What? You practiced on the bye week?' " Barry said, mocking their incredulity.

Even if a fatigued Packers team wasn't entering this Week 13 bye, there would be no practice this week. LaFleur knows his team needs rest after playing every week through the season's first three months.

That will be the priority for the next seven days.

LaFleur said his players were given off until Monday, six days to recharge for the season's final five games. His coaching staff will be inside Lambeau Field on Tuesday "doing a lot of self-scout," but then they will have off until Monday as well.

"You always want the bye to work to your advantage," LaFleur said. "Hopefully it allows some of our guys to get some much-needed rest to recharge the battery and potentially get some of these guys that have been on IR or that have sustained injuries to get them back to a better position to be close to 100%. I don't think anybody is 100% at this time in the season, but certainly you want your guys to be as fresh as possible."

'Horrific' winds tough on special teams

At no point during a football game is the ball at the mercy of the elements more than when special teams are on the field. Kicks, punts and the fielding of both can be drastically affected by wind, rain and temperature. Heading into Sunday’s game against the Rams, Packers special teams coach Maurice Drayton had an inkling the day would be tough for his unit. And he was right. 

“Oh my goodness. The winds were horrific yesterday,” said Drayton on Monday. “I think we saw that on both ends. We saw it with us, having trouble fielding a punt, as well with their returns. The wind, it was definitely a Lambeau wind. It was tricky yesterday, so those balls were going in that direction because of the wind.”

In preparation for the weather, Drayton made a change on his return unit. The Packers have gone with rookie Amari Rodgers for much of the season on punt returns, then added him on kick returns as well after Malik Taylor was injured. 

After Amari Rodgers slipped during his first return attempt, the Packers trotted out veteran Randall Cobb. On Monday, Drayton said that was always a contingency plan, due to the weather. 

“It wasn't anything that surprised anyone on our team," Drayton said. "We talked about if the conditions of Lambeau were pretty rough, that we would go with the more experienced person. So it was something we kind of prepared for; Amari and Randall, they practiced that way during the week as well.” 

Cobb’s return attempt was marred by a muff that the Rams recovered. Drayton said the bouncing winds off the Lambeau bowl played a part in that as well. But bad weather conditions or not, rookie or veteran, Drayton made a promise.   

“Last week we talked about the difference between a kickoff return and a punt return, it’s drastic," he said. "And it's tough, especially in our environment. But we're going to keep working like we always do and be a pro’s pro and we’ll find a way to get it done at a high level.”

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