Green Bay Packers star quarterback Aaron Rodgers has taken a major step forward in his recovery from a broken collarbone, and there is a significant increase in optimism regarding Rodgers’s chances of playing this week against the Atlanta Falcons. ESPN NFL Nation’s Rob Demovsky, who also provides photographic evidence in the tweet, reports that Rodgers is in pads for the first time since breaking his collarbone, but Demovsky does add that it appears Matt Flynn is still taking first-team reps.
Rodgers’s status for this week’s game is still cloudy, but this is a step in the right direction for the star QB. We know that Rodgers wants to play this week, and that definitely doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone; he always wants to be out there to help his team win. But the Packers, particularly the team doctors who know this stuff best, want to take things cautious with Rodgers, because the last thing in the world that needs to happen is a serious aggravation to Rodgers’s collarbone injury as a result of bringing him back too soon. Collarbone injuries recovery quite well on their own, but rushing somebody back from a collarbone injury is a very dangerous game due to the risk of a severe setback.
I still fully expect the Packers to shut down Aaron Rodgers if they are eliminated from playoff contention, but the Packers are still in a huge fight for a spot as it stands right now. Rodgers isn’t going to be inactivated until then, since the Packers know just how important Rodgers is to the team (obviously) and just how much their chances of making the playoffs increase with him out there.
It was reported on Sunday by the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport that Rodgers would be a “longshot” to play this week, and he’s still expected to miss the Falcons game. But at he same time, Rodgers really wants to play, the Packers previously targeted this week’s game as his return date, and Rodgers is indeed in pads today. While I wouldn’t expect him to return this week, his status is up-in-the-air, and he has a legitimate chance at playing this week.