Enough With the Shoulder Already

It's indeed possible Green Bay Packers signal-caller Aaron Rodgers won't be able to completely heal his injured shoulder until the offseason. But since he'e still sporting a 98.8 passer rating, should the media simply stop asking him about it? Get the Inside Slant from the NFL experts at Scout.com.

Aaron Rodgers is tiring of talking about his injured right shoulder.

Even the mention of his being on a "pitch count" – a term head coach Mike McCarthy has been using unbeknownst to his starting quarterback – wasn't well received.

"I'm going to play this week, and that's all I'm saying about that," said Rodgers, in response Wednesday to a line of questioning about the sprained throwing shoulder. "It's feeling better."

Rodgers was aided somewhat by the Packers' having their bye last week – the team didn't take to the practice field once – but acknowledged the injury could stay with him for the rest of the season.

Nevertheless, Rodgers will carry on playing hurt, as he did in the three games before the bye, when the 4-3 Packers play at the 7-0 Tennessee Titans, the league's only unbeaten team, on Sunday.

"The strength is not an issue," McCarthy said. "Everything from a structure standpoint is not an issue. It needs rest. That's what Dr. (Pat) McKenzie keeps telling me. As much rest as we can give him, the better so that it doesn't flare up on him."

Hence, the so-called pitch count the team has Rodgers on this week in practice.

After Rodgers didn't do much in practice Monday when the team reconvened following the bye, he had his first significant throwing session in the practice environment Wednesday since he suffered the injury in Green Bay's loss Sept. 28 at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He unloaded with a few deep balls early in practice before dialing things down again and sticking to handing the ball off in team drills.

McCarthy said Rodgers also would be held to a limited number of throws Thursday.

Rodgers then could be rested until game day, which would give him a 72-hour window of recovery before he'll have to cut loose with the shoulder Sunday.

QB Aaron Rodgers
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

"It is progress. It just shows it's feeling better," Rodgers said of getting back to throwing in practice, albeit on a limited basis. "Hopefully, we'll do away with that at some point this season and have no restrictions."

Rodgers hasn't been adversely affected by the bum shoulder in game action. He has completed 67 of 95 passes (70.5 percent) for 707 yards, six touchdowns and only one interception in the last three outings. His passer rating in each of those games has been in triple digits.

The Packers went 2-1 in that span to get back over .500 and tie the Chicago Bears for first place in the NFC North.

"His strength is good. I think that's proven with the way he's been able to throw the football," McCarthy said. "It's just an injury that needs time."

McCarthy had high praise Wednesday for injury-maligned defensive tackle Justin Harrell, who is a candidate to make his season debut in Sunday's game at the Tennessee Titans.

Harrell is on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. This week marks the third of a three-week window during which the Packers could evaluate his progress in practice after he underwent two surgeries for a herniated disk in his back before deciding whether to add him to the 53-man roster.

"He looks good," McCarthy said. "This is the best shape that he's been in since he's been with us in Green Bay. I'm definitely encouraged with the progress that he's making."

Harrell was sabotaged by injuries most of his rookie season last year after the Packers selected him in the first round of the draft.

If Harrell gets the OK from the medical staff to play Sunday, McCarthy said Harrell would be part of the rotation at the tackle spots. His first game in 2008 incidentally would be in his home state.

The 6-4 Harrell is noticeably lighter than last year at 313 pounds, which he feels will serve him better to be effective in game action.

"He's taken his full dose of reps. He's making progress," McCarthy said. "This is what he needs. We talk about getting in football shape, getting in there pushing and pulling and tugging and so forth. He just cannot get enough work." …

Starting defensive tackle Johnny Jolly was back with the team Wednesday after being excused from practice Monday so he could attend a court hearing in Houston on Tuesday.

Jolly faces a felony drug possession charge stemming from an incident in the summer. He was arrested July 8 in his hometown for possession of at least 200 grams of codeine.

He didn't have to offer a plea in court Tuesday. A pretrial motion will be held Dec. 2, at which time a trial date will be set. In the interim, Jolly can work out a plea agreement with the district attorney in Houston or plead guilty to avoid a trial. …

Wide receiver Donald Driver needs one catch Sunday to extend his streak of consecutive games with a reception to 103, which would tie the club record set by Sterling Sharpe from 1988 to 1994.

In the Packers' last game, a 34-14 win over the Indianapolis Colts on Oct. 19, Driver moved into second place on the team's all-time receptions list with 532. Sharpe holds the record with 595. …

Sharpe is among a half-dozen individuals with ties to the Packers who are on the preliminary list of 133 players, coaches and contributors nominated for election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame next year.

Other former Green Bay players up for consideration are safeties LeRoy Butler and Eugene Robinson and defensive tackle Steve McMichael.

The retired duo of team president Bob Harlan and general manager Ron Wolf were nominated as contributors.

A Hall of Fame selection committee will narrow the preliminary list to 25 semifinalists in November.

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