By Joseph Gunther
Aaron Rodgers has been hampered by a calf injury for a few weeks. He re-injured the left calf while scrambling on a touchdown pass to Randall Cobb late in the second quarter of the Green Bay Packers’ Week 17 win over the Detroit Lions.
He missed two series, but one was a one-play handoff to end the first half. Matt Flynn remained in the game to open the second half and led the team on a quick three-and-out. Rodgers came back into the game after the Lions tied the score at 14-14. Rodgers led the offense on a 7-play 60-yard touchdown drive to give the Packers the lead for good.
“We all understand Aaron’s very important to our football team,” Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said. “But scheduling’s done for the best interests of our team.”
The Packers had a bye week in the first round of the playoffs as the NFC’s No. 1 seed in 2001 and McCarthy held practices on Wednesday and Thursday. He then gave them a three-day weekend.
Rodgers had a limp in his walk after the victory. He was not seen in the locker room during the media availability time on Monday.
“Talked to him today, (and he) feels good,” McCarthy said Monday. “He always feels good. So (he) had some testing done. We feel we have a good plan for his rehab this week. We’ll see how he’s doing on Friday.”
Rodgers finished Sunday’s NFC North division title clinching victory with 226 yards and two touchdowns on 17-of-22 passing. He also had a 139.6 rating and 97.5 QBR.
“I don’t think you can say enough about his performance,” Packers offensive coordinator Tom Clements said. “To operate with that injury and then play as well as he did, it just speaks volumes about the type of player he is and how competitive he is.”
Divisional round opponent will be determined by Lions-Cowboys game
The Packers can play one of three teams in their first game of the playoffs. If the Dallas Cowboys beat the Lions then, they will come to Lambeau Field. If the Lions win, then the winner of the Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers game will head to Green Bay.
“You have to prepare for all three,” McCarthy said. “Everyone knows what the combinations are.”
The Cardinals-Panthers game will be played Saturday, so the Packers won’t know for sure until Sunday evening who they will play.
“We’ll watch the game here at 3 o’clock on Sunday and we’ll go right into game plan meetings on Sunday night,” McCarthy said.
The Packers played one of the three teams they could play this season. They defeated the Panthers 38-17 at home.
Suh suspended for step on Rodgers
Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh is suspended one game by the NFL for stepping on Rodgers during Sunday’s game.
The league issued a statement saying that Suh “backed up and stepped on Rodgers’ left leg with his right foot. He then stepped on Rodgers’ left leg again, this time with his left foot, applying pressure and unnecessarily pushing off Rodgers’ unprotected leg with his left foot, violating playing rules prohibiting unnecessary roughness.”
Suh will miss the Lions’ Wild Card game at the Cowboys, pending an appeal.
For more Packers news and updates, visit Packers Central.
Joseph Gunther is an avid fan of Minnesota sports, including football, hockey and baseball. He covered a wide variety of sports while attending Hastings College in Hastings, Neb. While at Hastings College, he was a part of the first collegiate media group to broadcast a national tournament via television, radio, internet and newspaper at the 2004 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Tournament. He grew up in the Twin Cities playing three years of varsity football in high school. Joseph is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.