COMMENTARY | The hope many had for Aaron Rodgers to return in Week 14 against the Atlanta Falcons now looks rather foolish, as two weeks later, the Green Bay Packers are preparing to play without him -- again.
On Wednesday, Packers head coach Mike McCarthy announced that Rodgers still wasn't medically cleared to play, giving team doctor Pat McKenzie just two days to determine if Rodgers was healthy enough to go against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
If you would have polled anyone outside of the Packers' organization at the beginning of the week, there was optimism that this would be the week that Rodgers returned to action, especially with Green Bay now in control of its own destiny.
But that hasn't had any impact on the decision making of the Packers' brass, which includes the conservative and long-term approach of McKenzie, McCarthy and general manager Ted Thompson.
There was an interesting sound bite from McCarthy on Thursday, however, that may indicate he is veering off on his own and pushing for Rodgers to play. But in the end, it isn't McCarthy's decision, at least if he knows what's good for him.
Rodgers sounded resigned to the fact that it isn't up to him when he answered questions in front of his locker following Thursday's practice. In fact, Rodgers said he had a pretty good idea about whether or not he would be cleared to play on Friday.
Read between the lines.
That 'pretty good idea,' based on how Rodgers was once again limited in practice and watched Matt Flynn take a majority of the first-team reps, is probably that Rodgers will miss his seventh straight start and, essentially, his eighth consecutive game.
The original timetable for Rodgers to return from his broken collarbone suffered Week 9 against the Chicago Bears was 6-8 weeks. It will be seven weeks to the day next Monday, which means there is the distinct possibility Rodgers has already played in his final regular season game.
As McCarthy said, Rodgers may look ready to play and feel ready to play, but this is a broken bone. It's not like a sprained ankle, hamstring pull or even a separated shoulder, an injury Rodgers played through back in 2008.
Sure, Green Bay could just throw Rodgers out there and hope for the best, and there is always the risk of re-injuring the collarbone, even if he is deemed to be medically cleared, which would set him back in the offseason.
In fact, there's the risk that Rodgers, God forbid, got hit by a car trying to cross Lombardi Avenue. Besides, McCarthy said Rodgers looked better this week, and he was so close to being cleared last week, so how far away can he really be?
As a result of this mindset, there is a true rift between organization and fan base regarding Rodgers.
After back-to-back Green Bay victories by a single point and a 61-yard field goal by Justin Tucker, the Packers are fortunate to be in this position. But can they really win two more games with Rodgers? And even then, will he be ready to return for the postseason?
The Packers may have to hope the answer to both of those questions, is 'yes.'
Dave Radcliffe is a resident of a little known Milwaukee suburb who is an avid follower of Wisconsin sports. He has contributed to JSOnline, as a featured columnist on other sites and publications, and been a guest on multiple sports talk radio shows.
You can get the discussion going and follow Dave on Twitter @DaveRadcliffe.
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
- Aaron Rodgers
- Green Bay Packers