Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers misses Wednesday's practice with minor knee injury

Ryan Wood
Green Bay Press-Gazette
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GREEN BAY – Aaron Rodgers expects to play this week despite missing Wednesday’s practice with a knee injury, his third body part that has landed on the injury report this season.

The Green Bay quarterback's broken throwing thumb and ribs are finally rested, but his left knee will require maintenance before the Packers host the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. Rodgers indicated the knee injury is minor, saying he will practice Thursday. He called Wednesday’s absence “a nice, little veteran day” for him to rest his knee.

It wasn’t until returning to the team plane in Miami that Rodgers realized he’d have to be careful with his knee this week. Rodgers took a shot on his left knee with a little more than 4 minutes left in Sunday’s second quarter. As safety Eric Rowe wrapped Rodgers to the ground for a sack, 310-pound defensive tackle Christian Wilkins sandwiched him from the top. Rodgers grabbed his left knee immediately before gingerly getting up and limping to the huddle.

“I got a lot of body weight on my knee,” Rodgers said. “Had some extra flexion I haven’t known for the last 20 years. So just been doing rehab the last few days and feeling a lot better.”

It didn’t affect Rodgers in the second half, he said. Rodgers noted how well he moved after Wilkins fell on his knee. He scrambled for 8 yards in the fourth quarter, though the play was called back because of a holding penalty on center Josh Myers.

Rodgers helped spark a second-half comeback that preserved the Packers' playoff chances entering the season’s final two weeks. The Packers outscored the Dolphins 13-0 in the second half, sealing their third straight win.

Then Rodgers returned to the plane.

“I realized that there was some fluid starting to accumulate,” Rodgers said. “So just took it easy – as easy as I want to on Monday and Tuesday – and then today just being smart with it.”

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At 39, Rodgers is having his most injury-plagued season in recent years. He was consistently healthy, aside from a bout with COVID-19 last year, during his MVP seasons. He hasn’t missed a game with injury this season, though his ribs knocked him out of the fourth quarter in Philadelphia last month.

Rodgers hasn’t practiced consistently throughout the week since breaking his thumb against the New York Giants in Week 5. It’s provided more practice snaps for backup Jordan Love to develop, but also limited reps for the Packers starting quarterback. Rodgers said the inconsistent reps haven’t been an issue, comparing it to 38-year-old tight end Marcedes Lewis’ off days each Thursday.

“It helps his body,” Rodgers said. “I’m not necessarily asking for that. I like to go out there and practice, but it’s nice to get a day off like today.”

David Bakhtiari returns to practice

The Packers roster is healing around Rodgers. Left tackle David Bakhtiari practiced Wednesday for the first time since his Dec. 2 appendectomy. Bakhtiari was limited in practice, but Rodgers said his blindside blocker was able to get through drills.

It’s unlikely Bakhtiari will be able to play Sunday against the Vikings are missing four weeks, but Rodgers wasn’t ready to rule him out.

“Just kinda depends on how he feels,” Rodgers said. “I’m not sure what his status was today, but I know he was down there doing some things. Be nice for him to be out there but just up to how he’s feeling, how his body responds to the week of practice. I think there’s a good chance that he could be out there.”

Rodgers is expected to have right tackle Yosh Nijman back in the lineup. Nijman left the Dolphins game with a neck stinger and is listed on the injury report as having a shoulder injury. However, he practiced on a limited basis Wednesday and it doesn't appear he'll miss any time.

Rookie receiver Christian Watson stretched Wednesday but did not practice because of a hip injury that forced him to miss the second half in Miami.

Cornerback and return specialist Keisean Nixon was present at practice but did not participate after leaving Sunday’s game with a groin injury.

Nixon said after practice that he didn't want to put a timetable on his return, but he did indicate the injury was more tightness that developed as the game wore on than a significant pull on any one play. He said as soon as he reported the tightness to the training staff, they told him to sit the rest of the game.

He said it would be the medical team's decision on whether he plays Sunday.

Staff writer Tom Silverstein contributed to this story.

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