GREEN BAY, Wis. — Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers won’t practice on Friday, the first day he’s eligible to take the field since he was placed on injured reserve.
No, Rodgers didn’t have a setback in the recovery from his broken collarbone. The Packers just don’t practice on Fridays.
Saturday, however, could be another story.
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One day after Rodgers was seen chucking passes some 50 yards in the air during a pregame workout at Heinz Field before Green Bay’s 31-28 loss to the Steelers, coach Mike McCarthy raved about Rodgers’ dedication to his rehab but wouldn’t commit to a timeline for when Rodgers would return to practice.
“We’ll see,” McCarthy said Monday. “I mean, he’s still going through — there’s a protocol, there’s targets we’re trying to hit each and every week. I think they’re working [on it], and it’s segmented. The A-number one priority is to get him healthy. Practice is not something we’re really focused on right now.
“I’m more focused on game-planning for the Buccaneers. There’s a plan laid out for Aaron, just like the other guys on IR. He’s knocking it out of the park, he’s going at it 120 miles an hour. We’ll see what the end of the week brings.”
Either way, Rodgers can’t return to game action until Dec. 17 at Carolina. But players who go on injured reserve are eligible to practice six weeks after the roster move was made. Rodgers was placed on IR on Oct. 20, one day after he underwent surgery to repair his broken right clavicle.
The Packers haven’t practiced on Fridays during a normal game week for several years, using the day instead for recovery, treatment and meetings, before then having a short practice on Saturday. Those Saturday practices are closed to the media, but the Packers would have to inform the league if Rodgers returned to practice because it would count as one of the two players designated to return off IR. They’ve already used one spot, on Jason Spriggs, who started at right tackle against the Steelers.
Those who arrived at Heinz Field early on Sunday saw Rodgers throw for about 10 or 15 minutes.
“I think it [was] a great opportunity,” McCarthy said. “I mean, think about it: You’re on a rehab process and the ability to throw in an opponent’s stadium. Everything that they’re doing is calculated between the training room, the strength and conditioning room and Aaron. As you would imagine, he’s going at it 120 miles an hour, and so far so good.”