Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy walks off the field
after an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers
Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013, in Green Bay, Wis. The Steelers won
GREEN BAY —
Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy isn't sure if quarterback
Aaron Rodgers will start the team's winner-take-all NFC North
matchup with the Chicago Bears on Sunday at Soldier Field.
McCarthy did say
Monday that the team wants to make a decision on Rodgers'
availability "sooner than later."
Rodgers, who has
not played since fracturing his left collarbone against the Bears
at Lambeau Field on Nov. 4, has missed the past seven games.
loss to the Bears when Rodgers was injured at the end of the
Packers' opening series, the Packers have gone 2-5-1 with three
different starters at quarterback.
process, the team has emphasized that Rodgers has not been
"medically cleared" by team physician Dr. Pat McKenzie.
emphasized last week that the decision not to start Rodgers in
Sunday's 38-31 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers was an
"organizational decision," suggesting that general
manager Ted Thompson, McCarthy and McKenzie made the call.
lot of conversation going on with Aaron and obviously Dr. McKenzie
and Ted Thompson and I. We're working through that," McCarthy
said Monday of the team's plans for Rodgers.
"I do not
have anything to announce today. Hopefully we can get the question
answered sooner than later. We're still working that."
Asked directly if
Rodgers has been medically cleared, McCarthy's answer was
different than previous answers to the same question.
part of the conversation. We're still gathering information
today," McCarthy said. "There's testing and things to
get done, so we're still working through that. I, personally,
haven't talked to Dr. McKenzie yet. He left for surgery. We're
working through it."
McCarthy had also said that Rodgers looked "ready to
play" after observing him in practice last Wednesday and
While Rodgers had
experienced pain in his shoulder after returning to practice in
advance of the Dec. 8 game against Atlanta, he was essentially
pain-free before the Dec. 15 game against Dallas and before
Sunday's game against the Steelers.
after seeing Aaron practice for two weeks, this is something Ted
Thompson and I need to sit down and we need to assess all the
information and to decide if it's time for him to play,"
to play, has wanted to play for the last couple of weeks. He fully
accepts, understands everything going on with his injury, so this
is really a decision for Ted Thompson and I representing the
organization. That's how it works."
Backup Matt Flynn
had led Green Bay to back-to-back double-digit comebacks in
victories over Atlanta and Dallas the previous two weeks to keep
the Packers' playoff hopes alive.
And their loss to
Pittsburgh ended up having no ill effect because of the Bears'
54-11 blowout loss at Philadelphia later in the night.
Now, the Packers
(7-7-1) and Bears (8-7) will square off Sunday, with the winner
earning the NFC North crown and a home playoff game in the NFC
what's at stake," Flynn said.
isn't the only issue for the Packers on the injury front.
Four-time Pro Bowl outside linebacker Clay Matthews, who missed
four games earlier this season after breaking his right thumb
against Detroit on Oct. 6, broke the thumb again Sunday and may be
lost for the season.
training staff didn't feel very good about the injury, so we're
still working through the process," McCarthy said.
And running back
Eddie Lacy, who has been hobbled by a sprained right ankle since
suffering the initial injury Dec. 8, hurt the ankle again Sunday
and could be out, too.
sore, which he has been pretty much the whole season,"
McCarthy said. "We're not going to practice on the field
until Thursday, so I'll probably have a better feel for where he's
The Packers have
16 players on injured reserve, including wide receiver Randall
Cobb, who has been designated for return but has yet to be
medically cleared for game action.
Johnny Jolly was the latest starter to be placed on season-ending
IR on Saturday with a neck injury.
And yet, here
they are, with a chance to win the division.
"It's been a
wild ride so far. And I like to think we're just getting
started," McCarthy said. "That's what I'm selling.
Hopefully they're buying it."