Aaron Rodgers Medically Cleared to Play vs. Panthers After Shoulder Injury

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistDecember 13, 2017

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - OCTOBER 15: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers looks on before the game against the Minnesota Vikings on October 15, 2017 at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers announced Tuesday night that he's been medically cleared to suit up against the Carolina Panthers in Week 15 after he missed eight weeks with a broken collarbone. 

In a post on Instagram, Rodgers wrote, "It's been a long road from that day to this, but I'm happy to say I've been medically cleared to return. Thanks for all the love, support, prayers, and well wishes over the past 8 weeks. #riseagain."

Rodgers suffered the injury in Week 6 following a hard hit from Minnesota Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr, and he was subsequently placed on injured reserve as a return candidate. 

However, just because Rodgers has been medically cleared doesn't mean he's going to be operating at 100 percent. 

According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, "The bone isn't fully healedand there was no chance it was going to be after two months. That was the expectation. Typically, 80 percent healed is healthy enough to be on the field. And Rodgers chose a surgical procedure involving two plates and 13 screws as an aggressive way of accelerating healing and protecting his throwing shoulder."

That said, the Packers will take Rodgers at 80 percent. 

While backup Brett Hundley did an admirable job and kept the club afloat with wins over the Chicago Bears, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Cleveland Browns, the offense wasn't nearly as explosive with him under center. 

To that point, the Packers didn't top 30 points in a single game Hundley started after they dropped 35 in consecutive wins over the Bears and Dallas Cowboys in Weeks 4 and 5. 

Now, Rodgers will try to help the Packers run the table and close the regular season with wins over the Panthers (Week 15), Vikings (Week 16) and Detroit Lions (Week 17) in hopes of pushing his squad back to the playoffs. 

Even if the Packers do reach 10-6 by season's end, they will need some help from the Panthers and Seattle Seahawks to vault up the NFC standings and secure one of the conference's two wild-card spots.  

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