Aaron Rodgers Would Be Wise to Take His Time Returning from Injury

Brian MaziqueCorrespondent IIINovember 13, 2013

GREEN BAY, WI - NOVEMBER 10: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers looks on from the bench while playing the Philadelphia Eagles at Lambeau Field on November 10, 2013 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Philadelphia won the game 27-13. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Green Bay Packers star Aaron Rodgers is a tough guy, but now is the time for him to be smart. Per Kevin Patra of NFL.com, Rodgers is pushing to return from his fractured collarbone before Thanksgiving. Rodgers originally injured the collarbone during a Monday night game against the Chicago Bears in Week 9. The Packers lost that game and also lost their Week 10 matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Seneca Wallace was hurt in the game against the Eagles, and he was only decent in his time on the field prior to the injury. Against the Bears and Eagles, Wallace completed 16 of 24 passes for no touchdowns and an interception.

GREEN BAY, WI - NOVEMBER 10: Scott Tolzien #16 of the Green Bay Packers is sacked by Connor Barwin #98 of the Philadelphia Eagles during the third quarter at Lambeau Field on November 10, 2013 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Philadelphia won the game 27-13. (Pho
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Scott Tolzien came in for Wallace against the Eagles, but he didn't play exceptionally well, either. He completed 24 of 39 passes for one touchdown and two interceptions, but head coach Mike McCarthy has already named Tolzien the starter for the team's game Sunday on the road against the New York Giants, per Vic Ketchman of Packers.com.

Clearly it seems Rodgers feels the need to rush back and save his team's season. The Packers are currently 5-4 and in third place in the division (the Bears would own the tiebreaker). It is very possible that the Packers could miss the playoffs if Rodgers doesn't return soon.

Even though he's a great competitor and leader, he should be more concerned with preserving his body for the long term as opposed to putting himself in harm's way for the final seven games plus in this season.

Rodgers doesn't have to look far for a precautionary tale on rushing back from an injury too soon. The Packers' hated rivals to the south are dealing with a potential prolonged absence at quarterback. The Bears' Jay Cutler didn't play against the Packers, but he came back ahead of time to play against the Detroit Lions in Week 11.

By halftime he looked to be playing at 60 percent and injured his ankle late in the game. The injury could have come as a result of trying to overcompensate for his still-healing groin injury, per Larry Mayer of the Chicago Bears' official website. Now the Bears could be without Cutler for a much longer period of time. Chicago has a backup quarterback who has played well in Josh McCown.

The Packers' secondary options under center aren't as good. While a prolonged absence could mean the Packers will miss the playoffs, that is a better fate than having Rodgers injure himself more severely. If this team doesn't have Rodgers at full strength in the future, it is a shell of itself. It is best to allow the franchise's most important employee to heal up before running him back on the field—no matter what he says.

Rodgers just signed a five-year, $110 million contract extension. The team has a ton invested into him

This is a clear example of when an organization needs to take the decision out of the player's hands. Sitting Rodgers until he's completely healthy is the smartest decision for him and the organization.