Limited Rodgers takes ’50, 60 percent’ of practice snaps

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Aaron Rodgers returned to practice for the Green Bay Packers right on schedule and right on time.

Meeting the original timeline that head coach Mike McCarthy set out six days earlier on Jan. 2, Rodgers participated — albeit in a limited fashion — in the Packers’ Thursday practice. It was Rodgers’ first time practicing since suffering the second injury to his left calf 11 days earlier in Green Bay’s regular-season finale.

"Aaron practiced in the team periods, looked good," head coach Mike McCarthy said. "Took probably 50, 60 percent of the snaps. I thought he looked good."

McCarthy added that Rodgers "hit the target" by doing 50 percent to 60 percent of the team-period snaps. Rodgers was not in the Hutson Center facility during the portion of practice that was open to media.

"He went down and did everything we asked him to do today," McCarthy said. "As far as what we do, how we do it, how much we do it, that’s what the game’s for."

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With three days before the Packers host the Dallas Cowboys in the divisional round of the playoffs, this was good timing for Green Bay to get Rodgers back on the field. However, Rodgers had already put any doubts to rest on whether the calf strain might keep him from playing in the game.

"I’m going Sunday," Rodgers said Wednesday. "Just a matter of how."

The "matter of how" is basically a question of Rodgers’ mobility and whether he’ll be able to extend plays outside the pocket like he so often does when healthy.

"(He) wasn’t really running around a whole lot," right guard T.J. Lang said of Rodgers. "But it’s honestly kind of hard for me to see with him being behind me, but it was good to have him back out there. Anytime you get your leader back out there, it’s always a boost for the rest of your team."

Some of Rodgers’ teammates didn’t notice initially that he had joined practice.

"I didn’t notice him out there until I saw one ball that kind of squeaked through and went in for a touchdown," cornerback Tramon Williams said. "I said, ‘Oh, that’s why it squeaked through. We’ve got No. 12 in the back.’ It’s a little different."

The Packers do not practice Fridays this season. When Green Bay goes through its Saturday practices, it will be closed to reporters.

"He’s our MVP on the team," linebacker Clay Matthews said. "He’s going to get us to where we want to go. We obviously need him this week. He’ll be out there. He’ll make it work."

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