Aaron Rodgers can't walk on water but can play well after injury

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- No, Aaron Rodgers can't walk on water, regardless of what Mike Zimmer says.

But the Green Bay Packers quarterback can play like, well, Aaron Rodgers even in the immediate aftermath of injuries.

Rodgers did not practice on Wednesday and said he would have no trouble playing even if he didn't practice all week, but he could not commit to playing Sunday against Zimmer's Vikings a week after he sprained his left knee in the season-opening comeback win over the Bears.

"He walks on water, so I'm sure he's going to play," Zimmer said on a conference call with reporters at Lambeau Field.

Perhaps Zimmer is working off history.

Only three times since he became a starter was Rodgers unable to play the week following an injury: both broken collarbones (2013 and last season) and his 2010 concussion (when he missed one game).

Rodgers not only has come back the next week from other injuries, but on most occasions he has turned in masterful performances.

"I have a great treatment regimen with these guys in here and the stuff I do outside the facility and then just being ready mentally," Rodgers said Wednesday. "Even though I'm not out there practicing today, I'm aware of the game plan and I'm doing what I always do, watching film, taking notes, thinking about adjustments, just getting ready to rock n' roll and hopefully my body will be ready to go."

Here's a look at how Rodgers has come back the week following injuries:


Injury: Separated right shoulder at Tampa Bay, Sept. 28

Next game: vs Atlanta, Oct. 5

It wasn't until a workout on the morning of the Falcons game that coach Mike McCarthy knew Rodgers would play. And even after Rodgers got the OK, McCarthy assured him that he wouldn't call any deep throws.

"We were actually just laughing about that game last week where I told him, I wouldn't throw any deep balls," McCarthy recalled this week. "We had one deep ball on the call sheet and it was a third-and-1 call, and I said, ‘We'll wait 'til you get going and you tell me when you're ready if we can cut it loose.'

"And shoot, I think it was the second series, it was the perfect down and distance, perfect hash, and I called the play -- 'Fake 94 Bob X Read' -- and as soon as I called it, I thought 'Oh Christ -- excuse me -- I wasn't supposed to call that.' And he went back and let it rip and then everything was fine after that."

Rodgers threw for 313 yards and three touchdowns and "Fake 94 Bob X Read" became the stuff of legend even though the Packers lost the game 27-24 on the way to a 6-10 record his first season as a starter during which Rodgers did not miss a game.


Injury: Left calf strain at Tampa Bay, Dec. 21

Next game: vs. Detroit, Dec. 28

Rodgers didn't miss a snap against the Buccaneers, but he reinjured the calf in the first half against the Lions. His calf seized up as he scrambled on a 4-yard touchdown pass to Randall Cobb with 2 minutes, 24 seconds left before halftime. He missed the final possession of the second quarter and the first one of the third quarter, giving way to Matt Flynn. During that time, the Packers' 14-0 lead evaporated.

"I didn't know if he could come back from that," Packers right tackle Bryan Bulaga said after that game. "It looked pretty bad, like he got shot how he went down on that touchdown pass."

Rodgers not only returned, he completed 11 of 13 passes for 129 yards and a touchdown (for a 133.7 passer rating) after the injury. In the fourth quarter, he even scored on a 1-yard run to clinch a 30-20 win that gave the Packers the NFC North Division title and a first-round playoff bye.

Still bothered by the injury, he played a masterful game in the divisional playoff round to beat the Cowboys and send the Packers to the NFC title game.


Injury: Left hamstring pull at Philadelphia, Nov. 28

Next game: vs. Houston, Dec. 4

The injury against the Eagles introduced the world to the now-famous blue tent, where Rodgers hid while receiving treatment. It also was the start of the "run-the-table" winning streak that sent the Packers to the NFC Championship Game after a 4-6 start.

The next game against the Texans proved to be challenging. The combination of wet, snowy field and the fear that it might worsen his injury forced Rodgers into a conservative mode. He completed 20 of 30 passes for 209 yards and two touchdowns in a 21-13 win.

He managed to run three times, including an 11-yard scramble, and both of his touchdowns came from outside the pocket. After the game, Rodgers said his hamstring felt "not better than [it] did coming in, but I feel good where I'm at. Had decent movement and didn't do anything to create a major setback."

Injury: Right calf strain vs. Seattle, Dec. 11

Next game: at Chicago, Dec. 18

Rodgers said he hurt his lower right leg against the Seahawks on the third play of the game -- a 66-yard touchdown pass to Davante Adams on a roll out to his right. He said he believes the calf injury may have been because he had been compensating for the hamstring injury.

In advance of the Bears game, the Packers' concern over Rodgers' injuries prompted them to sign rookie Joe Callahan off the practice squad to be the third quarterback behind backup Brett Hundley.

Rodgers was noticeably hobbled but got some big-time assistance from the running game, which totaled a season-high 226 yards. However, Rodgers made a key throw when he needed it most -- a 60-yarder to Jordy Nelson that traveled 52 yards past the line of scrimmage for his deepest completion of the season to set up the game-winning field goal at the gun in a 30-27 victory.