Rodgers learning to play within limits of calf injury

Aaron Rodgers warms up prior to the divisional playoff game last Sunday against Dallas. Green Bay won, 26-21, despite having its star passer saddled with a strained left calf.  

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GREEN BAY, Wis. — Aaron Rodgers is slightly ahead of where he was at this time last week. With the Green Bay Packers four days away from playing at Seattle for the NFC championship, their star quarterback is still dealing with the strained left calf that has limited his mobility.

But whereas Rodgers did not participate in the Wednesday practice before the divisional-round game against Dallas, he took a step toward improvement by at least being able to check in on the injury report as a limited participant for this Wednesday’s practice.

"He’s doing everything he can, I do know that," head coach Mike McCarthy said. "We did a little bit more today than we did this time last week. I don’t really know if that’s an indicator. We’re dealing with it."

Rodgers initially said he did "about the same as last week" before revising it to "a little bit more than last week."

Rodgers was not at the opening periods of Wednesday’s practice that were open to reporters. During that time, backup quarterbacks Matt Flynn and Scott Tolzien took all of the practice snaps.

"It’s just a matter of playing within your limits with the injury, and I’ve been pretty smart about it," Rodgers said. "I haven’t really caused a whole lot of extra damage to it, and hopefully it just keeps getting better until Sunday."

Rodgers occasionally had a noticeable hobble in his step in Green Bay’s win over the Cowboys. There were a few times when Rodgers’ lack of mobility meant having to stand around as the pocket collapsed around him. Under normal circumstances, Rodgers would have likely used his ability to make plays on the run to escape and fire the ball downfield.

Despite that forced change in his play style, Rodgers still completed 24 of 35 passes for 316 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions, giving him a 125.4 passer rating that was actually better than his regular-season mark. That performance helped lead the Packers back from a 21-13 deficit to win, 26-21.

In Pictures: Aaron Rodgers

McCarthy doesn’t have "any doubt at all" that Rodgers will be able to make it through another game — or two — with the injury.

"I’m really just worried about Sunday, and I’m counting on Aaron to keep playing the way he’s playing," McCarthy said.

Rodgers admitted after Sunday’s game that he never expected his left calf to be 100 percent healthy. It became evident to Rodgers early in that game that he wouldn’t be able to move around the field like he normally does. He also stated that his calf was "a little bit worse" following the game than it was prior to kickoff.

"I think I’ve got another 120 minutes left in me," Rodgers said after the game.

Almost as if he had seen all of the public comments about how it would take more than 120 minutes to win the Super Bowl if one of the next two games didn’t end in regulation, Rodgers said with a smile Wednesday, "I just hope we don’t go to overtime."

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