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Concussion could sideline Packers QB Rodgers vs. Dolphins

  • By NFL.com Wire Reports
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Quarterback Aaron Rodgers has a concussion and might have to sit out Sunday's game against the Miami Dolphins, the latest blow in a wave of injuries that has hit the Green Bay Packers in a season they hoped would end in the Super Bowl.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Rodgers sustained the concussion during a helmet-to-helmet hit late in Sunday's overtime loss at Washington and that the quarterback could sit out this weekend.

"It's definitely possible," McCarthy said Monday. "I know at a minimum he'll miss some practice time."

The Packers' backup quarterback is Matt Flynn, a third-year pro out of LSU who has thrown 17 passes in his NFL career. Flynn said he's ready to play if needed, but he hopes Rodgers is healthy.

"I saw him this morning," Flynn said. "He looked fine. We sat down, talked, just waited around, and everything was kind of normal."

The Packers likely will need much of the week to evaluate Rodgers, who hasn't missed a game since taking over as Green Bay's starter in 2008.

Under stricter return-to-play guidelines for head injuries that the NFL adopted late last year, Rodgers must be free of concussion symptoms, even after rigorous exercise, and cleared by the team doctor and an approved independent neurologist before he can play again.

Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler didn't play in his team's win Sunday at Carolina after sustaining a concussion one week ago.

"There's a protocol, and he'll go through it just like we've always done," McCarthy said of Rodgers. "And we'll definitely take the proper time and make sure he's fully recovered."

That's just the beginning of the bad news for the Packers.

Two players are scheduled for surgery this week: tight end Jermichael Finley on his knee and linebacker Nick Barnett on his wrist.

McCarthy said he "would be surprised" if Finley's surgery ended his season, but the coach was less definitive on Barnett, saying he was "holding out hope" that the linebacker would be back.

"When you're dealing with his particular injury, they really won't know until they get in there," McCarthy said.

Barnett injured the wrist during the Packers' 28-26 victory over the Detroit Lions on Oct. 3. By electing to have surgery this week, Barnett potentially could return in eight weeks, if his wrist heals correctly, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The Packers would be required to hold a roster spot for Barnett if they want to wait for him to heal.

"I really can't speculate if we'll hold on to one player versus another," McCarthy said. "Anytime you deal with injuries -- when you get to the six-to-eight-week mark -- those are tough decisions to make."

NFL.com's Steve Wyche reported last week that the team is preparing to move forward without Barnett for the rest of the season.

Finley, who injured his knee during the Packers' 16-13 loss to the Redskins on Sunday, will have a minor knee scope Tuesday.

A league source told NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora that Finley is expected to be out three weeks.

Outside linebacker Clay Matthews has a left hamstring strain, defensive lineman Ryan Pickett has an ankle sprain, tight end Donald Lee has a chest sprain, and safety Derrick Martin has a knee sprain.

Matthews' injury wasn't as severe as the one that caused him to miss most of training camp and the preseason, McCarthy said, although there isn't a clear timeline for the linebacker return. Lee and Martin might be out a few weeks.


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Meanwhile, veteran right tackle Mark Tauscher has a shoulder injury and was inactive against Washington. McCarthy did have one piece of good injury news: Linebacker Brandon Chillar, who has been out with a shoulder injury, will begin "trial" practice this week.

Green Bay already has lost starting running back Ryan Grant to a season-ending ankle injury, starting safety Morgan Burnett to a torn anterior cruciate ligament and backup defensive lineman Justin Harrell to a knee injury. And cornerback Al Harris (knee) and safety Atari Bigby (ankle) might return to practice for the first time next week, although it's not clear whether either will be able to play right away.

Going into the Miami game, that's a lot of potential absences for a Green Bay team that has lost two of its last three games -- and didn't look particularly good in its victory over the Detroit Lions. McCarthy nonetheless said this week would be business as usual.

And if Rodgers can't go? Quarterbacks coach Tom Clements said Flynn does a good job running the scout team in practice and is capable of taking over the offense.

"During the regular season with the opponent squad, he's going against our defense," Clements said. "Now, obviously, playing in the regular season is different, and things go a little faster. But we're confident that Matt will do a good job if needed."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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