Still nursing shoulder sprain, Rodgers takes it easy at practice

Updated: October 1, 2008, 10:57 PM ET
Associated Press

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- He'll take an injection. He'll try wearing a shoulder harness. He'll push himself through painful rehabilitation exercises.

Anything to be back on the field for the Green Bay Packers.

Despite a sprained right shoulder that limited him to a light workload in practice Wednesday, quarterback Aaron Rodgers says he'll do whatever it takes to start Sunday's game against Atlanta at Lambeau Field.

And Rodgers says he doesn't face any extra pressure to push himself because of the ironman consecutive-starts streak put together by his predecessor, Brett Favre.

"Listen, I want to play every game," Rodgers said. "I don't need that, 'Oh, you've got to play because Brett played 250 in a row.' I don't need that. I have pride in myself. I've played with some serious injuries before, so that's personal pride. I don't need any extra fuel to play."

Favre started a quarterback-record 253 consecutive regular-season games for the Packers before he was traded to the New York Jets. Right now, Rodgers' prospects for starting five in a row look iffy.

Rodgers sprained his right shoulder in last Sunday's game at Tampa Bay and was limited to handing off a few times in practice Wednesday. Rookie backups Matt Flynn and Brian Brohm got most of the work in practice and Flynn will start if Rodgers can't.

Rodgers said the pain is getting better, but the main factor that will get him back on the field is regaining the strength in his shoulder.

"Things are, at least in the big picture, getting better," Rodgers said. "The swelling's going down. But now really, it's really about the strength. If I get the strength back, then I can throw. I'll be able to play."

The Packers are hurting beyond Rodgers' injury.

Green Bay placed defensive line standout Cullen Jenkins on injured reserve Wednesday after he injured a chest muscle Sunday. Jenkins was one of a whopping 14 players listed on the Packers' injury report Wednesday -- a list that also includes cornerback Al Harris, who is out indefinitely with a spleen injury, and cornerback Charles Woodson, who continues to play through a broken toe.

The mounting early-season injuries are an unfamiliar problem for the Packers, who were relatively healthy in their first two seasons under McCarthy.

"It's just another challenge, frankly," McCarthy said. "Challenges come at you so many different ways. You have to overcome it."

And after soliciting advice from former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer, a close friend, Rodgers said he's willing to take an injection to overcome his injury.

"That [has] potential, I think," Rodgers said. "That's kind of what I was talking about. There's different options once you get to later in the week. Now, I don't know if that's the philosophy per se, if that's the main philosophy. But I talked to Trent Dilfer, and he's had 10 shoulder dislocations, and he said that was something he definitely used to get through the pain."

But Rodgers doesn't want to risk long-term damage.

"That gets into, what do you want to put into your arm? Cortisone is not kind of the typical, I think, thing used for something like this," Rodgers said. "That can be detrimental, I think to some of the ligaments in there, but dulling the pain. I mean, I don't know. I'm just talking hypothetical. Hopefully I won't have to shoot up, strength will come back in the next couple days, be able to throw Friday and go from there."

Rodgers isn't likely to throw a pass until Friday at the earliest.

"He's very positive, feels like he's improving, and I'm going to give him every possible chance to play in the game," McCarthy said.

It is the third significant injury in three-plus seasons for Rodgers. He broke his foot in a game against the New England Patriots in 2006 and hurt his hamstring in practice late last year.

Rodgers played through a serious knee injury in college, played the remainder of a half after breaking his foot against New England and said he "just sucked it up" to throw a 48-yard touchdown pass to Greg Jennings after hurting his shoulder on Sunday.

Rodgers said pain wouldn't be a limiting factor on Sunday.

"If I don't have the strength to be able to make the throws that I know I'm capable of making, then it doesn't really matter how much pain I'm in," Rodgers said. "But if I have the strength, I think I can deal with the pain."


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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