A day after Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers underwent the all-important first CT scan to determine how his fractured collarbone is healing, there is still no word on his status. Coach Mike McCarthy called it a medical decision on Monday and said the team is conferring with several experts. "I do not have a clean decision for you," he added.
After speaking with several sources informed of this situation, Rodgers' clearance is far more complex than simply saying, "the bone has healed." There are reasons why answers haven't come.
Rodgers, eligible to be activated this week after seriously impressing at practice for two weeks, is pushing very hard to play. Wednesday will mark a key moment for Rodgers as the team starts its practice prep for Sunday's game against the Panthers, and Green Bay hopes to have a call by then. Rodgers has targeted Week 15 as the date of his return and is fighting to be on the field. It's not that simple.
The Packers and other voices with whom they are consulting are being far more cautious. While everyone wants Rodgers to play, their thinking is more long-term. He is the franchise, he'll be their QB for years to come, and there is still a steep uphill climb to the playoffs -- though a recent win streak did help.
As Packers doctor Pat McKenzie and other experts evaluate the scan, the decision was described as a "risk/reward" decision. The bone isn't fully healed -- and there was no chance it was going to be after two months. That was the expectation. Typically, 80-percent healed is healthy enough to be on the field. And Rodgers chose a surgical procedure involving two plates and 13 screws as an aggressive way of accelerating healing and protecting his throwing shoulder. It was a success.
And yet there are still loud and protective voices who wonder if it's worth putting him on the field to potentially injure himself again for a small chance at a great reward. Those voices are weighing in with caution because putting him at risk might not be worth it.
The Packers, who are notoriously conservative when it comes to keeping their players out of harm's way, will be deliberate. In addition, if Rodgers isn't cleared this week, it doesn't mean he won't be cleared next week or the week after if the team somehow keeps winning. The fact that Brett Hundley continues to impress has actually led to a tougher call because the team is still alive.
When a decision is reached, the hope is that it's a consensus among Rodgers, the doctors, and team brass. At this point, though, it's difficult to predict which way it will go.