Dr. Patrick McKenzie has to be feeling a lot of pressure.
McKenzie has been the Green Bay Packers' team doctor since the early 1990s. He has many people hoping he clears quarterback Aaron Rodgers for action.
The Packers need Rodgers back. They will win the NFC North if they win their final two games, and are a much better team with the former MVP under center. Rodgers has expressed many times he wants to return from a broken clavicle. There's no more football-mad state than Wisconsin is for the Packers. Bears fans and Lions fans have a significant interest in Rodgers' playing status. If Rodgers is cleared to return, the entire NFL playoff picture changes.
But McKenzie isn't ready to take that step.
After practice on Wednesday, Packers coach Mike McCarthy said that Rodgers still hasn't been cleared for action. Green Bay, which is a half game behind Chicago in the NFC North, plays Pittsburgh on Sunday.
“Aaron Rodgers update. He’s doing better. He’s still not been cleared by the medical staff. He threw the ball extremely well. He looked sharp. He’s getting better,” McCarthy said after practice, according to Packers.com.
McCarthy has made it very clear this is a medical decision on Rodgers. That it's up to the doctors, and more specifically, McKenzie. Give McKenzie credit for not clearing Rodgers before he is absolutely ready, although he certainly has to understand the football ramifications of keeping Rodgers out.
But players generally don't heal quickly from broken collarbones. Rodgers has taken limited snaps in practice the past few weeks, but that doesn't mean he is totally healed and ready to take hits in a game. So the Packers and Rodgers wait.
There's still a chance that Rodgers gets cleared this week. McCarthy said that it will be a similar process to last week, so the final word will probably come down on Friday. A lot of people are interested in that news.
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