Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is eligible to come off of injured reserve in Week 15 against the Carolina Panthers and that’s got Packers fans ecstatic with the team clinging to playoff life. However, the organization hasn’t yet made an official decision and they’re putting Rodgers’ fate in one man’s hands.
Dr. Patrick McKenzie has been the Packers team doctor since the early-1990s. A disciple of famed orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews, McKenzie has been one of the most decorated team physicians in the NFL in his three decades with the team, winning the Jerry “Hawk” Rhea Award for physician of the year in 2011.
Packers coach Mike McCarthy indicated on Monday that it’d be McKenzie’s decision on whether or not Rodgers plays with the help of several consulting specialists, according to a report from Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com.
“It is now in the evaluation stage,” McCarthy said late Monday afternoon. “Dr. McKenzie is reviewing it. There’s a number of medical opinions that will be involved and a decision, so at this time I do not have a clean decision for you or an update. That’s where it stands.”
McCarthy went on to joke that if McKenzie didn’t have a decision by Tuesday, he’d be put on injured reserve along with Rodgers. However, it’s clear, joking aside, that the organization has complete trust in McKenzie to make the right decision.
Obviously, Green Bay wants to do everything in its power to make it to the postseason and keep their title hopes alive this season, but Rodgers is also the single most important element to the Packers competing for championships in future seasons so they don’t want to do anything that could jeopardize his long-term health.
When you consider that Tony Romo decided to retire and turn to the broadcast booth this past season in part because of recurring clavicle injuries, that makes McKenzie’s decision on Rodgers seem that much more serious.
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