Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was expected to practice during team drills on Thursday, but he was not present at the Don Hutson Center during the first six periods open to the media.
Coach Mike McCarthy told Sirius XM NFL radio that Rodgers would rehab during the first part of practice before later joining the team. It would be Rodgers' first practice since sustaining a second strain to his left calf against the Detroit Lions in the season finale.
Defensive tackle Josh Boyd (knee) and tight end Brandon Bostick (illness) returned after missing Wednesday's practice. Cornerback Davon House (shoulder) was also able to practice. But Rodgers' early absence was most notable.
The Packers will host the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday in the NFC divisional playoff round at Lambeau Field. Rodgers' status has been a constant point of discussion as he recovers from the left calf injury. On Wednesday, Rodgers said he will play Sunday, it's just a matter of figuring out how.
Rodgers appears to be following standard protocol for accelerated recovery from a calf strain, a process Dr. Ken Jung shared with Press-Gazette Media last week.
Jung, a foot and ankle surgeon at Kerlan-Jobe Orthopedic in Los Angeles, said rest would be the most important part of the healing process. As kickoff approached, Jung said, the Packers would likely have Rodgers run drills that simulate the stress his calf will be under during the game.
The first test likely comes Thursday afternoon.