It’s arguably no coincidence that, with Green Bay’s playoff chances circling the drain — and with quarterback Aaron Rodgers looking particularly inaccurate during crunch time of a Week 11 loss to the Titans — more information has been emerging about a thumb injury through which he has been playing.
With the Packers at 4-7 and a stiff challenge coming tonight at Philadelphia, the foundation quite possibly is being put in place for Rodgers to slide to injured reserve, once the Packers’ playoff hopes are dashed, not mathematically but for practical purposes. That could come as soon as tonight, if the Packers lose and fall to 4-8.
Rodgers himself first disclosed that the thumb is broken, in the days after he heard boos following a pair of bad throws in the fourth quarter of the loss to Tennessee. Now, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that Rodgers has an “avulsion fracture.”
Rapoport writes that the injury is “serious enough that surgery is almost always the answer to fix this type of injury.” He also says that an avulsion fracture “causes the ligament to rip away from the attachment, taking some bone with it.”
Sounds painful. Given that description, it’s incredible Rodgers is playing through it.
“Incredible he’s playing through it,” Rapoport tweeted.
What did I just say?
I’m not disputing the extent of the injury. I’m not disputing, as Rapoport asserts, that the injury will heal only with surgery. I’m not disputing, as Rapoport explains, that surgery will happen “only after Rodgers is done playing for this season.”
Here’s my point. If, as Rapoport characterizes the situation, it’s a near-Herculean task for Rodgers to keep playing, he’ll be done playing for the season when it looks as if the Packers won’t be playing after Week 18.
The Packers won’t likely won’t have a problem with that. Rodgers slipping to IR would give the team a chance to get Jordan Love ready for 2023. When Rodgers’s thumb, and the rest of his body, likely will be long gone.