GREEN BAY – A day after revealing that he experienced unexpected and significant pain while doing simple football maneuvers in practice last week, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers took some snaps with the first-team offense in practice Wednesday.
Tight end Andrew Quarless said that Rodgers worked with the starting offense, although Matt Flynn is still preparing to start against the Dallas Cowboys Sunday.
“’12’ looked real good today. It was good to see him out there, really working with the (No. 1) offense. He was out there before but wasn’t working as much with the offense, but today he took some offensive reps, which is a great thing for the team,” Quarless said. Asked to clarify that they were first-team reps, Quarless replied, “Yes, sir.”
Seven days earlier, Rodgers had done primarily individual drill work in advance of last Sunday’s victory over Atlanta and confessed on his weekly radio show on 540 ESPN and ESPNWisconsin.com on Tuesday that he was in pain during that practice. He then did less work last Thursday, when he and the rest of the team were in pads, and Friday as well. Matt Flynn started in his place for the second straight game.
“I went out there (last) Wednesday and had pain. We talked about range of motion and flexibility and the risk evaluation. Well, the other thing that comes into play once you’re back doing football movements is the pain,” Rodgers said during the show. “Are you experiencing pain doing some normal football stuff, whether it’s handing off or taking the snap or making quick movements or going through drill work? And the answer for me last week was yes. That was my answer on whether I was ready to play or not. You shouldn’t be having pain doing some of the simple movements.
Rodgers had said before returning to practice last week that he had been able to throw a football without pain. Asked what caused him pain in practice last week, Rodgers replied: “It’s different when you’re moving around. You’re doing a lot of quick movements, whether it’s a drill where you have to play fast, you’re simulating game speed or whether it’s taking a snap and giving a handoff with your left arm, which is attached to that injury.
“Those are some of the things that gave me discomfort. That was kind of my clue that I’m obviously not ready. The way that scan looked and then to have the discomfort I had made me know I wasn’t ready."
But, Rodgers had said, he was hopeful that he’d be able to practice on Wednesday and not experience that pain. Evidently, he felt good enough in the individual drills that when 11-on-11 periods began, he was able to participate.
In his post-practice press conference, coach Mike McCarthy reiterated that Rodgers has not been medically cleared to play in a game.
“We’ll see how he is tomorrow. We’ll set a plan for him again tomorrow,” McCarthy said. “Aaron still is not medically cleared, and really, I think it’s important to stay in-tune with that because the topic of ‘Is he playing in the game?’ versus ‘Is he medically cleared?’ – those are two totally different issues.
“Aaron’s obviously very important to our organization. He’s the face of our franchise and until he’s medically cleared, just like any other player going through a significant injury, that’s really where the focus will be. But he practiced today in a limited fashion.
“I clearly understand the importance of Aaron to the team, to the NFL, but we’ve got to make sure we do our due diligence and go through the process of getting him healthy.”
Whether he gets through that process in time to start against the Cowboys is unclear.
“’12’ is our leader,” Quarless said. “It would be great to get him back. But Flynn has to really step up and be that guy until that time comes.”
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