Coming into the game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was purposely playing through a broken thumb that he said earlier in the week wouldn’t stop him from being on the field.
What the Packers didn’t expect was Rodgers leaving the game early in the 40-33 loss with a rib injury, something that could sideline him in the coming weeks.
He’s not certain, telling us from Rodgers’ post-game press conference, that he wants to be back on the field next week against the Chicago Bears.
“As long as I’m in good shape tomorrow, I expect 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 combination of taking a clear shot to the ribs and landing on them on separate plays, one in the second quarter and again in the third quarter.
“I’m having trouble breathing and rotating my upper body,” Rodgers said. “I was worried about a punctured lung, too, so I wanted to get it checked out.”
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Luckily, the lung is fine, but Rodgers admitted initial tests couldn’t definitively show his ribs weren’t broken. More testing will be done Monday to confirm the diagnosis for the back-to-back NFL MVP.
At 4-8 now this season, there is also speculation as to whether Rodgers will want to continue playing as playoff hopes dwindle with each loss. He even said the team might have to win their next five games and still need some help elsewhere in the league just to get a place to play.
But as long as there’s hope, the 38-year-old caller likes to be under center.
“I don’t really want to take my mind out there, but as long as we’re athletically alive, I’d like to be there,” he said.
Coach Matt Lafleur added that Rodgers apologized to him because he could not continue with the match, but he did not want to hear about it.
“This is one of the toughest guys I’ve ever been with. I never question his strength.”
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But LaFleur also didn’t want to speculate about his quarterback status next week and move forward, as Jordan Love could make his first start since Week 9 of the 2021 season — the only start in his career that started with the 26th overall pick. 2020 NFL Draft.
“If Aaron is healthy and ready to go, I expect him to be there,” said Lafleur.
As Love entered the game in Rodgers’ fourth quarter, he quickly found budding star Christian Watson on a 63-yard run. He would finish the game 6 of 9 for 113 yards with this touchdown pass.
Of Love, Lafleur said, “I wasn’t shocked that he went out there and played well and was in good form. We see this on a daily basis. People may not necessarily agree with that, but I see it every day.”
Rodgers has also said he is “proud” of what Love has accomplished.
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As for his thumb injury, Rodgers said he felt better this week than he did last week, so that seems to be progressing as he continues to play.
But the Packers’ mind has turned to Rodgers’ newer, more serious illness that could sideline him even if he didn’t want to be.
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He finished with 140 yards on 11-for-16 with two touchdown passes and two interceptions in the loss.
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