Shower cap and all, Rodgers is Back

Aaron Rodgers has been medically cleared to play and I’m more than a little apprehensive about what that means for the team in the long term. In recent weeks, the return of Rodgers was looking more and more improbable as Brett Hundley and the Packers went from 4-1 to 7-6. And yet, we again find ourselves looking at a season finish that means a run of the table and a little luck sees us competing in the playoffs. I’d love to see Green Bay in the playoffs.

And in a season where several star players from around the league have been knocked out of their team’s rotation, Rodgers would be a welcome sight for the NFL, as it adds another competitive team to the mix for December and shakes things up in what was becoming a clearer NFC playoff picture. Anytime he’s on the field, Green Bay is a threat and his presence means an exciting post-season.

Still, everything I’ve read about the recovery time for a broken collarbone says they just don’t heal in eight weeks. Not completely. I know Rodgers wants to play, you could see it in his demeanor this weekend as he watched Hundley battle the Cleveland Browns into overtime, but will his quick return pave the way for greater injury? Football is a physical game, as we all are well aware, and if missing the playoffs this season means getting a healthier Rodgers for the next few years I have to think that’s preferable.

At this point, I suppose Packer fans who are harboring the same concerns I am, will just have to put our faith in the medical professionals that have cleared Rodgers to play and in Rodgers’s own self-awareness as he takes the field Sunday against the Panthers. The Packers have yet to say if he will be starting, but I can only assume his clearance means that is a forgone conclusion with their playoff hopes on the line.

This weekend, I’ll be watching with trepidation and hoping for the best. Not for a win, but for A-Rod’s health as he returns to competition.