FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers moved one step closer to an improbable return, as he was cleared Wednesday to return to practice — exactly 11 weeks after surgery to repair a torn Achilles.
By rule, the Jets have 21 days to decide whether to activate Rodgers from injured reserve. The period expires Dec. 20, four days before they face the Washington Commanders — the game he’s targeting for a return.
It’s an extraordinary comeback by Rodgers, who turns 40 Saturday, but this doesn’t mean he’s cleared for contact. That will be the final hurdle in what would be an unprecedentedly quick return from Achilles surgery.
For now, Rodgers probably will be limited to light drills in practice. Coach Robert Saleh said Rodgers is cleared for functional football activity but not cleared for contact. Saleh declined to say whether the team will activate Rodgers after 21 days.
On Tuesday, Rodgers told “The Pat McAfee Show” that his decision to return will be based on two factors: his health and the team’s standing in the playoff race. The Jets (4-7), losers of four straight, will need a miracle to make the postseason. Rodgers said he’d like the team to be “alive,” but that covers a lot of ground.
Saleh said Rodgers will play if he wants to play, contingent upon being cleared by doctors.
Rodgers, acquired in an off-season trade with the Green Bay Packers, was injured on the fourth play of the season. He was replaced by Zach Wilson, who started the next nine games before being benched in favor of journeyman Tim Boyle. Boyle will make his second start Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons.
From the outset, Rodgers said his plan was to shock the world. Two days after surgery, he said, “Give me your doubts, give me your prognostications and then watch what I do.” He said he would “shock a lot of people” based on his ambitious rehab program. No NFL player has returned from Achilles surgery faster than five months.
Source : ESPN