Before the game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was knowingly playing with a broken thumb that he said earlier in the week would not keep him from being on the field.
What the Packers didn’t anticipate was Rodgers leaving the game early in the 40-33 loss with a rib injury, something that could sideline him for weeks to come.
It’s not final, and according to Rodgers’ postgame press conference, he wants to be back on the field next week against the Chicago Bears.
“As long as I do well tomorrow, I hope to play this weekend,” he told reporters. “I may not be able to go on Wednesday, but as long as there’s no major structural damage, I’ll be back.”
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Rodgers explained that it was a mix of a clear shot to the ribs and landing on them on separate plays, one in the second quarter and again in the third.
“I just have a hard time breathing and rotating my upper body,” Rodgers said. “I was also concerned about a punctured lung, so I wanted to get it checked out.”
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Fortunately, the lung is fine, but Rodgers admitted that initial tests couldn’t definitively prove that his ribs weren’t broken. More tests will be done Monday to make sure the diagnosis is correct for the consecutive NFL MVP.
At 4-8 now on the season, there is also speculation as to whether Rodgers wants to keep playing with playoff hopes dwindling with each loss. He even said the team might have to win its next five games and would still need help elsewhere in the league just to clinch a wild card spot.
But, while there’s hope, the 38-year-old signal caller wants to be under center.
“I really don’t want to think about it, but as long as we’re mathematically alive, I’d like to be out there,” he said.
Head coach Matt LaFleur added that Rodgers apologized to him because he couldn’t play anymore, but he didn’t want to hear it.
“This is one of the toughest guys I’ve ever met. I never question his toughness.”
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But LaFleur also didn’t want to speculate on his quarterback situation next week and move on, as Jordan Love could get his first start since Week 9 of the 2021 season, the only start of his career that began as the 26th pick. overall in the 2020 NFL Draft.
“If Aaron is healthy and ready to play, I look forward to it,” LaFleur said.
When Love entered the game in the fourth quarter for Rodgers, he quickly found rising star Christian Watson for a 63-yard catch-and-run. He would finish the game 6 of 9 for 113 yards with that touchdown pass.
“I’m not surprised that he came out and played well and had great poise. We see this every day. People may not necessarily agree with that, but I see it every day,” LaFleur said of Love.
Rodgers also said he was “proud” of what Love accomplished.
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As for his thumb injury, Rodgers said he felt better this week than he did last week, so he seems to be making progress as he continues to play.
But the Packers’ minds have turned to Rodgers’ latest and most serious ailment that could keep him out even if he doesn’t want to be.
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He finished with 140 yards on 11-of-16 with two touchdown passes and two interceptions thrown in the loss.