Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers says they're playing better entering the playoffs than the top-seeded 2011 team that went 15-1 in the regular season. (Jan. 6, 2014)
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers doesn't know how his injured left calf will feel Sunday, but he's already thought about how he'll handle his limitations.
There will be no excuses Sunday. Rodgers showed in his final two games he can play well despite the injured calf. He's injured it twice in separate spots, the second coming in Green Bay's finale against the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field.
Rodgers rolled right, but pulled up and dropped to the field as he threw a touchdown pass to receiver Randall Cobb.
"The injury was making a quick move in the pocket, and just not having the strength in that calf to withstand the pressure that I put on that leg as I moved to my right," Rodgers said Tuesday on his weekly ESPN Milwaukee radio show. "That was just the case. So unfortunately it gave out on me on the outside, and then I was even more limited."
His injured calf won't heal by Sunday. Surgeons who specialize in calf injuries similar to Rodgers' have said it takes six to eight weeks to fully recover, meaning the quarterback is unlikely to be 100 percent throughout the playoffs.
Rodgers knows there's a chance of further injuring his calf when the Packers host the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC divisional round Sunday.
"That's not a concern. If it happens, it happens," Rodgers said. "At that point, it's out of my control. I've got to get myself in the best position to play, and then whatever limitations I have moving. Maybe I won't have any. Maybe we'll get to Sunday, and I'll feel great. Or maybe I'll be very limited.
"It just depends on how I'm feeling this week, and we'll adjust accordingly."
The Packers are expected to keep Rodgers in the pocket more, considering his limited mobility. Even protected by his offensive line, his calf presents challenges.
"I do have to transfer weight from the left side to my right side, and the left side in the shotgun takes the initial weight of the first step," Rodgers said. "The punch step in the shotgun that we take is on the left foot. Then, obviously, the crossover step is an important one on the left foot."
Rodgers will be evaluated Wednesday, and the medical staff will set a plan for his week of preparation. Packers coach Mike McCarthy said last week he didn't expect Rodgers to practice before Thursday.
Rodgers did not rule out practicing Wednesday, but it's unlikely.
"There's always a chance," Rodgers said. "I'm not sure. It just depends on how it's feeling tomorrow."
-- email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @ByRyanWood