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Packers' Rodgers hopes to play Sunday in Dallas

The SportsXchange

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said "yes" after practice Thursday when asked if he hopes to play Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys.

Coach Mike McCarthy said, officially, there was no change on Rodgers' status yet. However, he said the quarterback, out since Nov. 4 with a fractured collarbone, would be re-evaluated Friday before and after the final practice of the week.

Word leaked from practice Wednesday that Rodgers was taking more snaps and looked good, and the chatter became more prevalent and positive Thursday, McCarthy's official stand notwithstanding.

"If I'm going to play Sunday, I'm going to need to take the majority of the reps tomorrow," Rodgers said Thursday.

McCarthy, however, remained noncommittal about Rodgers being able to play Sunday for the first time in six games, saying, "He was a limited practice member" in practice Thursday.

Green Bay is preparing Matt Flynn to make a third consecutive start this week, but that plan could be for naught if Rodgers is medically cleared to play Friday.

On Wednesday, Packers tight end Andrew Quarless was the first to verify that Rodgers was gearing up faster than the team's staff was revealing, saying, "Today, he took some offensive reps, which is a great thing for the team, definitely."

Quarless confirmed Wednesday that Rodgers' "limited" status in practice included taking snaps behind center with the first-string offense during the team portions that are closed to the media. That would be a significant development in the late-season saga that has played out for more than a month.

Rodgers' increased involvement on the practice field may be telling for his chances of playing Sunday. The Packers (6-6-1), fresh off their first win in six games since Rodgers was injured, have a critical game at Dallas as they try to bolster their slim playoff chances.

On Wednesday, McCarthy put a positive spin on Rodgers' ongoing recovery and the mysterious prognosis.

"I'm very optimistic that he's going to get back to full strength, and when that time comes, I'm sure we'll let everybody know about it," McCarthy said. "But, I think this whole process, and I clearly understand the importance of Aaron to the team (and) to the NFL, but we've got to make sure we do our due diligence and go through the process of getting him healthy."
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