Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers says he has been playing with broken thumb
GREEN BAY, Wis. − Quarterback Aaron Rodgers acknowledged Wednesday that the thumb on his right throwing hand has been broken, following an injury during the Week 6 loss to the New York Giants. While Rodgers has alluded to the thumb causing some pain over the past two months, he had not publicly talked about it being broken.
“It didn’t make a difference,” Rodgers said. “It doesn’t make a difference with me playing. You saw the tape on my thumb, it doesn’t make a difference.”
Asked if surgery was ever considered, Rodgers responded, “No, I don’t think so.” It was his same response to the question about whether it would require offseason attention.
Most Wednesdays since the injury, Rodgers has sat out practice, using the time to rehab his thumb. On this Wednesday, ahead of the Packers' road trip to take on the 9-1 Philadelphia Eagles, Rodgers practiced, albeit as a limited participant. He did so with his right thumb taped.
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He was able to do so thanks to a mini-bye weekend. The Packers played the Tennessee Titans on Thursday night to kick off Week 11. Players were given the next five days off, giving Rodgers time to rest and heal the thumb.
“I think I've had worse injuries I've played with,” Rodgers said. “So, you know, definitely a challenge. But the days off helped, feeling better this week. The five days off was nice and full practice today with under-center snaps, so felt good.”
Going under center can be particularly painful with a thumb injury. A quarterback’s hands are cupped in such a way that the thumb will constantly be bumped against his teammate. Rodgers, notably, has played in shotgun a significant portion this season, but he insisted that has more to do with scheme than an injury, per his request.
“I told them don’t hold anything back, let's go under center,” Rodgers said. “I’ll be fine on Sundays.”
The Packers have gone 1-6 since Week 6, with the back-to-back MVP averaging 229.6 passing yards per game, a 62.3% completion rate, 13 touchdowns to four interceptions and a 95.7 quarterback rating during that time.
Still, Rodgers maintains any thumb issues are not the root of his and the Packers' offensive issues this season.
“My thumb was hurting a lot worse in the Dallas game and I put the ball where I wanted to,” Rodgers said, also agreeing he had several throws in the loss to the Tennessee Titans that were just crummy throws, not a result of a broken thumb. At this point, Rodgers said, he knows what to expect each week.
“It's about the same every week,” Rodgers said. “It didn't really get any better. It didn't get significantly worse. There'd be a couple of plays every game, maybe a snap slightly inside or hit that might jolt it a little bit, but it was just dealing with the occasional kind of dull pain and working through it.”
At 38 years old, injuries are something Rodgers are familiar with; in comparison, he said, this one is not as bad as others he has suffered, especially when it comes to affecting his game.
“When I hurt my knee in (20)18, that was, you know, you throw from the ground up so that was definitely difficult on the footwork and playing lagged,” Rodgers said. “But I mean, when I broke my index finger in college, that was probably a slightly, slightly more important finger to deal with.
"But remember, I was at practice and coach (Jeff) Tedford said ‘I don't care what's hurting. You got one day off and if you miss another day of practice, you’re the backup again.’ So there was no choice.”
There’s little choice now as well. The Packers' backup is Jordan Love, who has started one regular-season game since being drafted in the first round in 2020. He has appeared in seven games in nearly three seasons. There is little choice for coach Matt LaFleur as the Packers attempt to win out and sneak into a wild-card playoff spot, making every game of the remaining six essentially a single-elimination playoff. It’s why LaFleur and Rodgers have focused more on the Eagles this week than the possibility of Rodgers' thumb keeping him off the field.
“I hope (the time off) helped his thumb,” LaFleur said Wednesday. “We didn’t really get into it in that respect today. Since we are at this stage of the game, we’re trying to be super efficient with our time in the building.”
With their season on the line, though, Rodgers will look to play despite lingering pain in his thumb. After five days off, he has the best chance yet to play with little to no discomfort. Asked if this is the best the injury has felt since it first occurred, Rogers said “yes.”