During his day-after news conference on Monday, McCarthy said Rodgers sustained "no major structural damage" in his right (throwing) shoulder during a third-quarter scramble on Sunday at Tampa Bay. McCarthy called the injury a shoulder sprain, not the dislocation or separation that Rodgers mentioned during his postgame news conference after Sunday's 30-21 loss.
So, while the Packers almost never had to worry if Brett Favre would be available for the following week's game, McCarthy and the training staff will be keeping a close eye on their first-year starting quarterback. Rodgers will rehab the shoulder on Monday and Tuesday, and how he throws the ball on Wednesday and how he feels on Thursday morning will be key measuring sticks on whether Rodgers or Matt Flynn will start at quarterback against the Falcons.
"We'll have a better idea Wednesday," McCarthy said. "Speaking with Aaron this morning, he has every intention of playing. I think Wednesday's practice will be a pretty good indicator for us."
McCarthy has some history of working with quarterbacks with sprained shoulders. In 2002, when McCarthy was offensive coordinator for the Saints, Aaron Brooks sprained his throwing shoulder against Baltimore. Brooks played the next week against Minnesota, completing 21-of-33 passes for 255 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.
While Rodgers missed one series against Tampa Bay, re-entered the game, then missed the last series, McCarthy was impressed with Rodgers' 48-yard touchdown pass to Greg Jennings after sustaining the injury.
"The coverage that we had on that particular play was probably the toughest coverage that you can get on that particular pass concept," McCarthy said. "It's really just a great throw, and catch and finish by Greg. (Rodgers) had thrown a screen on first down that didn't go very well for him. So, for him to muster up and throw that ball the way he did was a tribute to his ability to deal with that in that particular situation. I think you could even say for our whole football team. We had a bunch of guys that were nicked up throughout the game that went back in and fought and gave us a chance to win that game in the fourth quarter."
Just in case the shoulder doesn't respond quickly enough to treatment, McCarthy said practice reps will be split in such a way that Flynn will be ready in case Rodgers can't play or can't play effectively against Atlanta. McCarthy didn't think the offense would be limited by the rookie Flynn's limited experience.
"We haven't really operated on a very high volume all year, so that's something coming out of the offseason," McCarthy said of scaling back the playbook for Flynn. "I think it's important as a coaching staff to challenge yourself. I've dealt with very high-volume offensive game plans in the past. Over the long haul, I think it creates more opportunity for mental errors. I don't think we have a volume issue as far as the size of our playbook for any of the quarterbacks to run. The percentage of that, the week will probably answer that question better."