GREEN BAY, Wis. — Aaron Rodgers still isn’t sure whether he’ll be able to return to action this season, but the Packers quarterback confirmed that he had screws inserted in his fractured right collarbone during his Oct. 19 surgery in Southern California.
In a taped appearance on TBS’ “Conan” that airs Thursday, Rodgers told host Conan O’Brien that doctors used “13 screws” to repair his collarbone, which he injured during the first quarter of the Packers’ 23-10 loss at U.S. Bank Stadium on Oct. 15.
Wearing a sling on his right (throwing) arm and with a bandage showing beneath his black shirt, Rodgers told O’Brien: “I rolled out to my right, I threw the ball, and I got tackled and kind of slammed on the ground. But I’m good now. Thirteen screws later and here I am.”
Reached via text message Thursday morning, Rodgers wouldn’t say exactly how many screws were surgically inserted into the collarbone, joking, “It’s TV. Sometimes you exaggerate. And then sometimes, you tell the truth.”
Rodgers, who has been staying in the Los Angeles area convalescing following surgery, said he’s “reading ‘Into the Wild’ with my feet in the sand at the beach, recovering.” He said he’ll return to Green Bay on Monday, a day before his teammates return to practice on Tuesday.
Rodgers was placed on injured reserve on Oct. 20. NFL rules don’t allow players on IR to return to practice for six weeks and to game action for eight weeks. Teams are permitted to bring a maximum of two players back from IR onto the 53-man roster.
Rodgers has another four weeks before he can practice and isn’t eligible to play in a game until the Packers’ Dec. 17 game at Carolina. But Packers coach Mike McCarthy said earlier this week that there’s no established timeline for how quickly his collarbone will heal or how soon he might be cleared to return. He said that the “worst-case scenario” is that Rodgers will not play again this season.
The Packers return to game action on Nov. 6 on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” against the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field.
Rodgers and the Packers are hoping the team will remain in playoff contention with backup Brett Hundley as the starter, giving Rodgers a chance to play again this season if his collarbone heals quickly enough. If the 4-3 Packers — having lost 26-17 to the New Orleans Saints last Sunday in their first game without Rodgers — are out of the playoff hunt, there’s no reason for Rodgers to push to return before the season ends.
When Rodgers fractured his left collarbone in 2013, he did not have surgery. He missed seven games and returned for the regular-season finale at Chicago, throwing a game-winning, fourth-down 48-yard touchdown pass in the final minute to beat the Bears and send the Packers into the playoffs as the NFC North champions at 8-7-1.
Jason Wilde covers the Green Bay Packers for ESPN Wisconsin and hosts “Wilde & Tausch” with former Packers offensive lineman Mark Tauscher weekdays on ESPN Milwaukee and ESPN Madison.