The Green Bay Packers are expected to get a better idea of the health of star quarterback Aaron Rodgers Wednesday. The MVP frontrunner will reportedly have his strained left calf examined by team doctors before the Packers hold their first practice ahead of Sunday’s NFC Divisional round matchup with the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday afternoon.
"It feels better," Rodgers said to ESPN Radio Milwaukee Tuesday. "We'll see what happens this week as far as practice reps. Everybody's so concerned about them. I'm not, and thankfully my teammates aren't, either."
Rodgers also spoke to the chance that he worsens the injury against the Cowboys.
"That's not a concern," Rodgers said. "If it happens, it happens. At that point, it's out of my control. I've got to get myself in the best position to play and then realize whatever limitations I might have moving. Maybe I won't have any. Maybe we'll get to Sunday, and I'll feel great. Or maybe I'll be very limited. It just depends on how I'm feeling this week, and we'll adjust accordingly."
The Packers and Rodgers are seeking their first playoff victory in two years, and Rodgers had a bye week to get some extra rest after Green Bay clinched the NFC North title and the conference’s No. 2 seed.
Rodgers sustained the injury in Week 16 against Tampa Bay and it was re-aggravated in Week 17 versus the Lions. But the injury hasn’t forced Rodgers to sit out a game, and he’s in the midst of one of his best seasons as a pro.
Ranking second in the league with a 112.2 passer rating, Rodgers launched 38 touchdowns compared to only five interceptions, and threw for more than 4,000 yards for the fifth time in his career.
Packers head coach Mike McCarthy also didn’t seem too worried about his quarterback’s injury, and even praised Rodgers for his work ethic.
“It’s a big challenge for Aaron,” McCarthy said to the team’s official site Tuesday. “I think Aaron was brought up the right way. He likes to practice. Brett (Favre) was the same way. The head coach and quarterback control the tempo and energy of practice, and when your star quarterback is competing at a high level every single day, it makes the whole practice environment better.
“That’s what he’s used to. He doesn’t miss practice. He wants to practice, but we have to be smart. We’ll talk it through and make an educated decision.”
Rodgers accuracy and decision-making in the pocket, along with his ability to extend plays with his legs, makes him one of the best passers in the league. But if he’s less than 100 percent, the Cowboys could also limit the production of Green Bay’s top receivers Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb.
Nelson was fourth in the NFL with 1,519 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns off 98 receptions this season, and Cobb pulled down another 91 catches for 1,287 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Both receivers stand to feast on a Cowboys secondary that finished the regular season ranked No. 26 in the league against the pass, allowing 251.9 yards per game. Dallas also allowed 307 passing yards and 6.8 yards per completion in its narrow 24-20 comeback victory over Detroit in the wild card round.
The Packers could turn to second-year star running back Eddie Lacy. Racking up his second-straight 1,000-yard season, Lacy averaged 4.6 yards per carry and scored nine touchdowns this season. After Lacy veteran running back James Starks could help out, as could recently dubbed All-Pro fullback John Kuhn.