Coach not sure Aaron Rodgers will play

Updated: December 15, 2010, 10:15 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy didn't sound too optimistic when it came to the question of whether quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who suffered a concussion last week against the Detroit Lions, would be able to play Sunday night against the Patriots at Gillette Stadium.

Rodgers has suffered two concussions this season.

"He didn't practice today, I don't anticipate him practicing tomorrow and there's a slim chance Friday. We'll make a decision Saturday," said McCarthy in a conference call Wednesday.

Aaron Rodgers

Rodgers

McCarthy said the team's medical staff is putting Rodgers through the medical test progressions to determine whether he'd be able to play from a mental as well as a physical standpoint.

"We understand the importance of the quarterback position, but this is about Aaron Rodgers, first, No. 1, being healthy," McCarthy said. "And then after that we'll make a decision on whether he'll play or not."

As of Wednesday, McCarthy said Rodgers wasn't cleared to attend meetings or watch game film; for concussion patients, exposure to electronic screens and lights often is limited because it can make symptoms worse and prolong their recovery time. Whether he'll be able to participate in meetings and film study in the next day or so will be determined by the medical staff.

Backup Matt Flynn took the majority of snaps in Wednesday's practice for Sunday's game, with practice squad quarterback Graham Harrell also getting some work.

Flynn, a seventh-round pick out of LSU in 2008, played OK in relief of Rodgers on Sunday -- although he threw an interception in the red zone and couldn't finish off a late-game drive with a chance to win the game.

He said he's preparing this week as if he's going to start.

"I feel good about it," he said. "It was a good day at practice today and I'm excited. I'm just going to go through the week like I'm definitely going to be playing. Hopefully, Aaron can get back, but I'm just going to go in there like I'm going to be playing and prepare like it."

Flynn said he saw Rodgers on Wednesday morning.

We're not going to make a decision medically off of one game. Everybody knows this is an important game and our opponent is a very good opponent. So this is clearly a medical decision in Aaron's best interest.

-- Mike McCarthy on Aaron Rodgers' status for Sunday

"He seemed fine," Flynn said. "I don't really know the symptoms or whatever's going on but I saw him this morning and he seemed fine. We had a conversation, just a normal conversation."

McCarthy said the idea that the Packers' playoff hopes would be in trouble with a loss to the Patriots won't figure into their decision on Rodgers' status.

"We're not going to make a decision medically off of one game," he said. "Everybody knows this is an important game and our opponent is a very good opponent. So this is clearly a medical decision in Aaron's best interest. Once we pass that hurdle and that decision is made that he is healthy, then we'll talk about Aaron Rodgers as part of what is the best football decision."

If Rodgers is cleared to play on Saturday, it will not be the first time he has started a game without practicing at all the week leading up to the game. McCarthy said he has done that once before.

Cornerback Charles Woodson, meanwhile, said he wouldn't be surprised to see Rodgers line up under center.

"In this game, guys want to be on the field," said Woodson. "In my gut, he would play. But that's up to the doctors and him, how he feels."

While Rodgers' status remains iffy, the Packers ruled defensive end Cullen Jenkins out for Sunday and outside linebacker Frank Zombo isn't likely to play because of a knee sprain. Zombo, an undrafted rookie free agent, took over as the starter after a season-ending injury to Brad Jones.

Now the job might go to Erik Walden, who was released by Miami in September and signed with the Packers in October.

Left guard Daryn Colledge may return to practice Thursday after spraining his knee, and Clay Matthews remains limited in practice because of a lingering shin injury.

It's just the latest batch of injury issues for a team that has 13 players on injured reserve, and now must find a way to beat the Patriots.

"We feel that there's no room for error," cornerback Tramon Williams said. "Obviously, we've got to come out and play our best football. We haven't done that the past couple of weeks. But it's the NFL. It's a new week. You show up a different team every week and hopefully we'll come out and put a complete game on display."

Information from ESPNBoston.com's Steven Krasner and The Associated Press was used in this report.