Aaron Rodgers has the most famous calf in Wisconsin, which is saying something in a state with more than 10,000 dairy farms.
The Green Bay quarterback’s injured left calf has been the topic of coast-to-coast conjecture in advance of the Packers’ NFC Championship Game on Sunday in Seattle. The interest is especially high among Packers fans, who have reached out with their own home treatment ideas.
“I appreciate all the suggestions,” Rodgers said. “I know people have the best intentions when they’re sending stuff in, whether it’s a phone call — and I have heard some of your suggestions, so thank you – or an email, which sometimes are passed along to me. They want me to get back on the field. This time of year when there’s an injury, there are a lot of experts out there.”
There was one treatment Rodgers did cop to — almost. Asked if he’s used acupuncture, he responded, “Possibly, yes. I do everything that the medical staff tells me to do, and I supplement a little bit.”
Rodgers practiced Wednesday, but his participation was limited. He says he feels “pretty similar” to the week before.
That wasn’t great. He admits the leg hurts, and his mobility is limited. However, his gameday production hasn’t been, as he passed for 316 yards and three touchdowns Sunday in Green Bay’s 26-21 divisional round win over the Dallas Cowboy.
That performance caused Seahawks coach Pete Carroll to sound a bit skeptical about all the attention to Rodgers injury.
“He only threw for 316, geez,” Carroll said. “That's a tremendous accomplishment. He's been a great player for a long time, and the great players have a way of figuring it out, you know, and how to adapt and get it done and still play. That's part of why they're great, whatever it is, the resourcefulness, to figure out the situations. They adapted. He did fine.”
Rodgers’ receivers say they haven’t noticed much different.
“We expect to get open on time and him to get the ball out,” said Jordy Nelson, who led the Packers with 98 catches during the regular season. “Obviously, what he can do with his legs isn’t as much as it has when he has been healthy, but I think he showed on Sunday that he is able to move around enough that he needs to.”
Rodgers stopped short of saying the injury makes him a better passer because he is more likely to remain in the pocket.
But he said he’s comfortable there as long as his protection holds. And the Packers’ offensive linemen have say they always try to keep their quarterback upright — mobile or not, healthy or not.
“I didn’t really move a lot in college,” he said. “I had a great offensive line at Cal and a lot of dropbacks, a lot of half-rolls and stuff; so it wasn’t like I was making a lot of plays outside of the pocket. A lot of times, I didn’t have to do a whole lot because of the protection. It’s just a matter of playing within your limits with the injury, and I’ve been pretty smart about it. I haven’t really caused a whole lot of extra damage to it, and hopefully it just keeps getting better until Sunday.”
After the Dallas game, Rodgers said he is confident that he has a good 120 minutes left in him. On Wednesday he added the caution, “I just hope we don’t go into overtime.”