Packers activate Aaron Rodgers from injured reserve

FILE - In this Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017 file photo, Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers drops back during the first half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals in Green Bay, Wis.  Rodgers probably won't have time to catch the latest installment of the blockbuster Star Wars series when “The Last Jedi” opens this weekend in theaters.  Preparing for the Carolina Panthers takes precedence as he gets ready for his first action since missing seven games with a collarbone injury.(AP Photo/Mike Roemer, File)

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) The Green Bay Packers activated quarterback Aaron Rodgers from injured reserve Saturday, a day before he starts Sunday in a must-win game at Carolina.

Rodgers broke his right collarbone at Minnesota on Oct. 15, had surgery and was placed on injured reserve on Oct. 20. He returned to practice on a limited basis on Dec. 2, was cleared by the team’s medical staff Tuesday night and took the first-team reps this week.

The Packers will need the ”old Aaron” to keep their faint playoff hopes alive. Green Bay went 4-1 to start the season before Rodgers was injured on a hit by linebacker Anthony Barr in Week 6. The Packers fell to 5-6 before Brett Hundley directed back-to-back overtime wins against Tampa Bay and Cleveland. At 7-6, they are in ninth place in the NFC. The Panthers are 9-4 and lead the race for the conference’s two wild-card spots.

To make room on the roster, Green Bay released No. 3 quarterback Joe Callahan.