Aaron Rodgers has a fractured collarbone, but what the Green Bay Packers quarterback does not have is a timeline for when he might play again.
Rodgers confirmed on his weekly radio show on 540 ESPN and ESPNWisconsin.com that he did indeed break his left (non-throwing) collarbone when he was sacked by Chicago Bears defensive end Shea McClellin during the Packers’ 27-20 loss on Monday Night Football. Rodgers was injured with less than 4 minutes into the game.
“I have a fractured collarbone, and we have not talked at all – regardless of what’s been reported – we haven’t talked at all about a timetable or anything,” said Rodgers, adding that he was in “some pain” Tuesday afternoon. “We’re still going through the process of testing, but we do know that the collarbone is fractured and we still have not talked about or discussed any long-term prognosis.”
Asked if he held out any hope of playing in Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lambeau Field, Rodgers replied: “I think we’ll know more as the week goes on, but I do have a fractured collarbone. That’s a significant injury. We’ll know more about the severity and the timetable later this week.
“There has not been any timetable that has been talked about with me, the docs, coaches, anybody who represents me, any of my family members. So, we’re holding out hope that this will be a quick heal. But it is a significant injury.”
Although Rodgers said the injury won’t require surgery, it is frustrating because there’s nothing he can do to accelerate the healing process. His friend and former teammate, Charles Woodson, suffered a broken collarbone twice – in Super Bowl XLV, and early last season, when he missed 10 games because of it.
“It’s a difficult injury because there’s not a specific type of rehab you can do for this. It’s not like you can get a massage or stim or the different various treatments that they have out there that can try to get you back quicker,” Rodgers said. “You just have to wait for the bone to heal. That’s going to be the frustrating part, but I feel like I’ve been a quick healer in the past and am hopeful this will be on the short end of whatever prognosis comes up.”
After the Eagles, the Packers will play at the New York Giants (2-6) on Nov. 17, at home against Minnesota (1-7) on Nov. 24 and at Detroit on Thanksgiving on Nov. 28. The Packers, Bears and Lions are currently in a three-way tie for first place in the NFC North at 5-3.
“It’s obviously disappointing, what happened last night with the injury and then with the loss,” Rodgers said. “It’s always difficult with a loss, especially if you sustain the type of injury like I did last night.”
After Rodgers was injured, veteran backup Seneca Wallace, whom the team signed after the final roster reduction at the end of training camp, took over and completed 11 of 19 passes for 114 yards with no touchdowns, one interception and four sacks (53.4 rating).
Rodgers played as a backup several times while sitting behind starter Brett Favre from 2005 through 2007, with mixed results. In 2005, he went in against Baltimore and played poorly. In 2007, he replaced an injured Favre at Dallas and nearly rallied the team to victory – a game that bred confidence among the coaches and players about his ability.
“I think it is (hard). Because you don’t take a lot of reps,” Rodgers said of Wallace going into the game. “The week I played in Dallas, I took maybe four reps in practice that week – and that’s all week. You run the scout team, but you’re running the other team’s plays. So yeah, it’s going to be a different week for him. And it’s a different type of confidence when you go into the week and you know you’re going to play a lot.”
Rodgers said his return will be determined not only by how the bone knits but by how much pain he can play through and how much risk there is of making the injury worse. In 2006, Rodgers suffered a broken foot against the New England Patriots and played the rest of the game with the injury; in 2008, he suffered a dislocated right (throwing) shoulder at Tampa Bay but played the next week against Atlanta with limited practice time and didn’t miss a single game that year.
Rodgers hasn’t missed a game due to injury since suffering a concussion at Detroit on Dec. 12, 2010 and missing the following week’s game at New England.
“It’s the balance of pain tolerance and putting yourself at a greater risk. I’ve always dealt with the pain and put my body at risk – whether that’s playing with a knee condition that I had in high school and junior college and at Cal, or the various injuries we’ve had over the years,” Rodgers said. “We all deal with them, and it’s a matter of what you can play with from a pain-tolerance perspective and then also, we’re talking about bones. You can put yourself at greater risk for a worse injury if you go back out there. But I think most people know my personality and I’m going to try and be back as quick as I can.”