Relief Over Severity of Rodgers' Injury

While Aaron Rodgers sustained a broken collarbone on Monday night against Chicago, it is not a season-ending injury, coach Mike McCarthy said. In fact, it might be a "week-to-week" injury. On a short week, McCarthy will turn the focus toward getting Seneca Wallace ready.

Calling Aaron Rodgers' broken collarbone more of a "week-to-week" injury than a season-ender, Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy spoke with the confidence that his team's goals for the season remain possible.

"I'm relieved, no doubt," McCarthy said the day after a 27-20 loss to Chicago in which Rodgers was injured on the first series of the game. "You talk to the doctors after the game, talk to Aaron after talking to the doctors -- felt better talking to Aaron than I did talking to our medical staff. With the new information that was given today, everybody felt better about it. How long? We don't have our hands around a timeline yet, but I know Aaron is very optimistic and he'll do everything he can to get back in a timely fashion."

Speaking to ESPN Milwaukee's Jason Wilde on his weekly radio show on Tuesday, Rodgers said, "We're holding out hope that this will be a quick heal but it is a significant injury." He said he'd get a better handle on any timelines later in the week. For now, though, it's just a "waiting game," since there are no treatments or rehab options to hasten the bone's ability to heal.

McCarthy said he'd spend the week getting Seneca Wallace ready to make his first start since going 0-3 with Cleveland in 2011. However, he stopped short of ruling out Rodgers for Sunday's game against Philadelphia.

"I'll just say this: I'm preparing Seneca to be the starter, that's the way our game-planning has gone," McCarthy said. "But let's not kid ourselves, if he walked in your office and asked for the ball on Saturday, what would you do? So, we'll just see what happens."

Wallace, who sat out all of 2012 and didn't sign with Green Bay until before the Week 1 game against San Francisco, had a miserable performance. With McCarthy admittedly taking periodic peeks toward the tunnel to see if Rodgers was returning, Wallace completed 11-of-19 passes for 114 yards and one interception. His longest completion, 17 yards to James Jones, should have been an interception.

However, Wallace was behind the eight-ball from the get-go. Rodgers figured Wallace took four 11-on-11 reps at practice during the week, and Wallace was running the game plan developed for Rodgers. With the week to prepare, McCarthy can tailor a game plan around Wallace's skill-set.

"I think it's clearly different for a quarterback to come off the bench than to go into a game," McCarthy said. "Frankly, regardless of who the backup quarterback (is), no disrespect to the backup quarterbacks in the National Football League, but the game plan set for Aaron Rodgers is different than the one set for the backup quarterback. A lot of adjustments were made during the course of the game. I thought the first- and second down, the normal (down-and-distance) production was what it needed to be. We missed some opportunities in the action-pass game. Third down was our Achilles' heel. We did not convert the third downs. We were on the fringe here as far as going into the red zone area. That was probably a factor into our performance offensively. With that being said, Seneca wasn't here for training camp. Not making any excuses for anybody, but he'll have a week to get some timing with the receivers and, specifically, in those third-down situations."

If Rodgers is out and Wallace starts, who's the backup? There were reports that Scott Tolzien had been promoted from the practice squad, though no such transaction was announced. Matt Flynn cleared waivers and is available.

"We're still working on the 53rd position," McCarthy said, noting the team activated Derek Sherrod from the physically unable to perform list but cleared a spot by putting Jermichael Finley and Sam Barrington on injured reserve.

As for Rodgers, his first inclination was to play through the pain.

"I've sustained some injuries of various harshness, I guess, and I've gotten back on the field and the pain goes away," Rodgers told Wilde. "Maybe it hurts Monday or Tuesday, but you deal with it. In this case, it was considerably more pain than I've felt in a long time. Obviously wasn't able to throw the way I wanted to on the sideline. I agreed to an X-ray, and wanted to do it quickly so that I could potentially get back on the field. That's why I went to the locker room as quick as possible."

Watching the game in the locker room, Rodgers said he heard "something about me not going back in the game." At that point, Rodgers said, he put his pads back on and tested his capabilities in the locker room before being shut down for the night.

Now, it might be up to Wallace to keep the Packers afloat. Based on tiebreakers, they're in third place in the NFC North and in eighth place in the NFC. Only six teams qualify for the playoffs.

"There's a path to get to where we want to go and there's always obstacles that show up that you didn't think were going to be there," McCarthy said. "It happened Monday night and we'll stay on that path and do whatever we need to do to keep it on track."


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.


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