Aaron Rodgers not cleared, but not ruled out vs. Falcons

GREEN BAY, Wis. — The wait for Aaron Rodgers to be
medically cleared continues.

Though the Green Bay Packers are winless in all five games since
their starting quarterback broke his left collarbone, there is still no
guarantee that Rodgers will return in time for Sunday’s home game against the
Atlanta Falcons.

“Aaron Rodgers’ status, he has not been cleared yet
from the medical staff,” coach Mike McCarthy said Tuesday. “Aaron
Rodgers will practice tomorrow (Wednesday) in a limited fashion, and we have
not ruled him out for the game yet.”

By Sunday, Rodgers will be 34 days removed from an injury
that was projected to take between 4-to-6 weeks to heal.

When Rodgers practices this week, it won’t be his first time
doing so. Rodgers was a limited participant in the Tuesday and Wednesday
practices leading into the Packers’ Thanksgiving Day game in Detroit.

“Aaron wants to play,” McCarthy said.
“There’s no question about it. But it’s a medical situation. He has a
clear understanding where he is as far as the process of getting back on the
field. He feels good, and we’re going to see what he can do tomorrow.”

With a 5-6-1 record, Green Bay currently has a 6.7 percent
chance of earning a playoff spot. If the Packers lose to the Falcons, it will
become close to impossible for Green Bay to make it to the postseason for the
fifth consecutive year. But even if the Packers drop to 5-7-1, McCarthy insists
that Rodgers could still play this season.

“There has been no internal conversations about
shutting Aaron Rodgers down,” McCarthy said. “Aaron wants to play.
When he’s healthy, he’ll be given the opportunity to play.”

While Green Bay waits for the left collarbone of its former
NFL MVP to heal, there isn’t a surefire answer as to which backup should start
at quarterback. The team’s original No. 2 QB, Seneca Wallace, is on injured
reserve, forcing the Packers to then turn to their former practice-squad
quarterback Scott Tolzien. In 10 quarters of action, Tolzien moved the ball
effectively downfield, but his five interceptions proved too much for McCarthy
to deal with. That led to Matt Flynn, who helped lead Green Bay back from a
16-point deficit against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 12, a game that
ultimately resulted in a tie. However, Flynn struggled mightily in Detroit,
completing 10-of-20 passes for 139 yards with no touchdowns and one
interception.

“Matt Flynn will take the starter reps tomorrow
(Wednesday),” McCarthy said. “We just think Matt’s further along
(than Tolzien) as far as game experience and just a little more comfortable in
the system. Scott’s worked extremely hard. Frankly, for both Scott and Matt,
Scott really had one week of full reps to get ready for the Giants game (on
Nov. 17). This will be Matt’s first opportunity to get a full week of reps
getting ready for the Atlanta game. That’s what you have to look at.

“Talking even with Aaron today about trying to maybe
get him ready also, to get him a chance to come back, is how do you balance
that out? Because at the end of the day, we have to make sure our quarterback
is ready to play.”

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