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Packers' Rodgers still awaits clearance

The SportsXchange

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Return of quarterback Aaron Rodgers remains uncertain, complicating matters for the Green Bay Packers, who remain in must-win mode.

Rodgers, sidelined since breaking his collarbone Nov. 4, still hasn't received medical clearance to resume playing. He is on a similar rehab, practice and evaluation schedule as he was last week.

If the rest of this week plays out the same, that would mean Rodgers likely would receive unhappy news from team doctor Pat McKenzie on Friday and be told he must miss a seventh consecutive game.

"We're going to take the week," coach Mike McCarthy said after practice Wednesday. "We're going to take the same process or a similar process that we took last week.

"Aaron is doing better, (but) he still has not been cleared by the medical staff. He was a limited practice participant (Wednesday), so a similar work pattern that he did last week. (He) threw the ball extremely well, looked sharp. He's getting better."

And, like last week, the team pushed back Rodgers' usual weekly media availability from Wednesday to Thursday. That left replacement quarterback Matt Flynn to hold court with a big group of reporters Wednesday and repeat lines similar to those he uttered before the previous three games.

"My mindset is I'm starting (Sunday)," Flynn said. "Obviously, we all hope Aaron plays, but my mindset is I'm starting, just so I can prepare myself."

Flynn is on a two-game roll in the starter's role, rallying the Packers from double-digit halftime deficits to the narrow victories over the Atlanta Falcons and Dallas Cowboys, the latter of which resulted in a 37-36 win after the Packers trailed 26-3 at halftime on the road.

Rodgers jumped in for a few team reps with the first-string offense in practice Wednesday, but the workload was in Flynn's favor as the team prepares to play host to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.

"(We) don't really know what's going on with (Rodgers) and his status, but I think everybody's kind of got prepared to go forward with Matt, and I think he's earned the chance to be that guy until Aaron is ready," right guard T.J. Lang said.

"(A) tough, tough situation (Rodgers is) in. He's been wanting to play for a couple weeks now. He's just got to make sure that everybody's on the same page -- medical staff, (general manager) Ted Thompson, Mike, all those guys are comfortable with the decision. But, until he gets back, Matt's done a nice job."

The Packers' best news Wednesday was that wide receiver Randall Cobb received the go-ahead from the medical staff to practice with his teammates again.

McCarthy said Cobb participated in limited fashion as the playmaker took the next step toward possibly playing again this season. Cobb is on the injured reserve-designated to return list, sidelined since he sustained a fractured right leg in Green Bay's Oct. 13 road win over the Baltimore Ravens.

"I'm really just taking it day to day now, just trying to get back to the flow of practice and get back to doing team things," Cobb said.

While encouraged by his work Wednesday and his rehab progress, Cobb made it clear that he was not cleared for game-day action, whether it is Sunday or the following week's road game against the Chicago Bears. He started running again only last week.

"You've got to be fearless playing this game, and I have to get to a point where I'm not thinking about my knee and I'm not worried about what I'm doing on the field," Cobb said.
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