Despite reports suggesting Aaron Rodgers‘ season could be over, there’s optimism the Green Bay Packers could have their star quarterback back on the field later this year.
Packers head coach Mike McCarthy confirmed Monday that Rodgers will require surgery after breaking his collarbone in the team’s Week 6 defeat to Minnesota. McCarthy noted that he will be out a “significant amount of time” and that “potentially his season could be over”. But surgery could actually speed up Rodgers’ recovery.
That is according to both ESPN’s Stephania Bell and Dr. David Chao, who writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Bell is ESPN’s injury analyst, and also a physical therapist. Dr. Chao was an NFL doctor for over 17 years, and previously worked for the Chargers.
Yet despite McCarthy stating Rodgers’ season could be over, both Bell and Dr. Chao believe surgery brings some potential good news.
“Actually, surgery would accelerate the recovery, not the other way around,” Bell said, according to an article by ESPN’s Rob Demovsky. “You can begin moving much sooner because the fracture is stabilized by the hardware.”
Dr. Chao agreed with Bell’s assessment in an article he wrote on Monday.
"Surgery will involve a plate and screws being inserted in Rodgers’ clavicle.This helps hold and support the bone as it heals, providing support for early rehabilitation and speeding healing by holding the bone together without motion at the fracture site."
If Rodgers’ recovery goes well, Dr. Chao believes he could return to the field as early as Week 14, which would be eight weeks after the injury occurred. Dr. Chao also noted Rodgers “could be throwing as early as five weeks post-surgery”.
Whether the Packers get their two-time MVP back this year will depend on a few things.
It comes down to the severity of the injury, how quickly Rodgers recovers and also the team’s record later in the year.
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If Green Bay struggles to win many games with Brett Hundley under center and falls out of playoff contention, there would be no point rushing Rodgers back.
But if Hundley can help the Packers string together a handful of wins, however, there’s hope we could see Rodgers return for the final few games of the regular season.
The question is can the Packers get by without Rodgers?
For a moment let’s assume he is able to return in Week 14. This would mean Rodgers would only miss six games, as the team is on bye in Week 8. Four of those six are at home: New Orleans, Detroit, Baltimore and Tampa Bay. The two road trips are at Chicago and Pittsburgh.
Is it possible a Hundley-led Packers can split the six-game stretch and go 3-3? Absolutely. That could potentially leave the team 7-5 entering a Week 14 trip to Cleveland. In this scenario, the season would be far from over.
Of course, that is an optimistic, best-case scenario and pure speculation at this point. We don’t know the severity of Rodgers’ injury. And while Bell and Dr. Chao believe Rodgers could return this season, that is only if there are no setbacks and the team is still in contention.
For now we wait. But don’t give up hope. Maybe, just maybe, Rodgers can return late in the season to help the Packers seal a playoff berth.