Monday, September 29, 2008
Packers QB Rodgers has sprained shoulder
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers intends to play against Atlanta on Sunday despite a sprained shoulder that his coaches will be watching closely in practice.
Packers coach Mike McCarthy and his assistants will spend this week monitoring Rodgers' progress and preparing rookie backup Matt Flynn to start, just in case.
"Speaking with Aaron this morning, he has every intention on playing," McCarthy said Monday in Green Bay. "But I think Wednesday's practice will be a pretty good indicator for us. It's just something we'll have to continue to rehab and see where we are on Wednesday."
Rodgers was injured on a scramble in the third quarter of Sunday's 30-21 loss at Tampa Bay. He stayed in the game and threw a touchdown pass to Greg Jennings, but sat out part of the fourth quarter. Rodgers said after the game he might have separated his shoulder.
"It felt like that's what possibly happened," Rodgers said Sunday. "But we're going to wait until tomorrow to figure out exactly what the problem is."
McCarthy said Monday that medical tests revealed no major structural damage.
"I think it's just how he responds to rehab and how fast we can move forward," McCarthy said.
Aaron Rodgers' separated shoulder is his second injury in two seasons, but he expects to play.
Rodgers, the Packers' first-round pick in 2005, has had two injuries in the past two seasons despite limited playing time. Some have interpreted that as a sign of Rodgers being injury prone, particularly when compared to the quarterback-record consecutive starts streak belonging to his predecessor, Brett Favre.
But Rodgers' ability to play through a broken foot in a 2006 game against New England also could be interpreted as a sign of his toughness. And McCarthy said Rodgers' ability to throw a touchdown pass after the injury showed he can play through pain.
"For him to muster up and throw that ball the way he did was a tribute to his ability to deal with that in that particular situation," McCarthy said.
The Packers plan to have Rodgers rehabilitate the injury Monday and Tuesday, then see how well he can throw in practice Wednesday and how he feels Thursday morning.
"It's important to have the strength back in the shoulder," McCarthy said. "And really how he throws on Wednesday will have a lot to do with it, and then Thursday morning, how he recovers."
McCarthy said Rodgers would split time with Flynn running the No. 1 offense in practice, with the intention of "making sure that both Matt and Aaron are ready to play."
Flynn is a seventh-round pick out of LSU who beat out more-heralded fellow rookie Brian Brohm for the backup spot in training camp. If he has to start, he'll be expected to run the offense the same way Rodgers has.
"Any quarterback that plays, his job is to run the game plan," McCarthy said. "Stay within the game plan and make the proper decisions. Play with good vision, accuracy and footwork. They're all trained the same way."
Rodgers isn't the only Packers player nursing an injury coming out of Sunday's game. McCarthy said linebacker A.J. Hawk has a groin strain, defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins has a strained pectoral muscle and safety Aaron Rouse has a knee sprain.
The Packers already were missing cornerback Al Harris, out indefinitely with a spleen injury. And cornerback Charles Woodson continues to play with a broken toe.
McCarthy hopes to know more about the status of injured players later in the week, particularly Hawk.
"Knowing A.J., I'm sure he'll do everything he can to play this week," McCarthy said.
And while the Packers have lost two straight games after a 2-0 start and injuries are beginning to mount, McCarthy said the team's mini-slump wouldn't result in a slew of personnel changes.
"It's not about changing parts, it's about getting the parts cleaned up and working in a better fashion," McCarthy said.