Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers will not play in Week 11's matchup against the New York Giants but is "showing improvement" in his recovery from a fractured left collarbone suffered back in Week 9, according to the Associated Press (via ESPN.com).
The prolific passer was injured on the Packers' first offensive series against the Chicago Bears after being sacked by Shea McClellin. Rodgers' non-throwing shoulder took the full weight of McClellin's 260-pound frame.
Green Bay is winless since Rodgers went down.
But Mike McCarthy and the Packers coaching staff can at least breathe a sigh of relief knowing that Rodgers is expected to return prior to the end of the season. While Green Bay boasts one of the league's top running games and a capable defensive unit, without Rodgers the Packers have zero chance of contending with the likes of Seattle, San Francisco and New Orleans in the NFC.
It's difficult to argue that the Packers are favorites in the NFC North without him in the mix.
Backup quarterbacks Scott Tolzien and Matt Flynn have potential, but neither can come close to replacing Rodgers' production. The inexperienced Tolzien played surprisingly well in Week 10 vs. Philadelphia after replacing Seneca Wallace, throwing for 280 yards and a touchdown.
If Green Bay can nurse the three-time Pro Bowl passer back to full strength in time for the final month of the regular season, the Packers will have an excellent opportunity to gain some key momentum and make a run at securing a playoff berth.
The Packers will host the struggling Atlanta Falcons in Week 14 and then a reeling Pittsburgh Steelers team two weeks later. Green Bay will close out the regular season on the road at Chicago in a game that could determine which club wins the division.
Even though the stakes are high, Green Bay is unlikely to rush its superstar signal-caller back to the field. Remember, the Packers signed Rodgers to a seven-year, $130 million extension back in April.
Packers fans definitely aren't used to seeing Rodgers cheer his team on from the sideline in street clothes. Since taking over as the full-time starter at quarterback following Brett Favre's retirement in 2008 and prior to getting injured in Week 9, Rodgers had missed just two games, and only one because of injury.
He's appeared in all 16 of Green Bay's regular-season games in three of the past five seasons and rarely even gets nicked despite having been sacked 220 times since the start of 2008.
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