The broken collarbone that Aaron Rodgers suffered reportedly isn't completely healed, but Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers nonetheless decided the veteran quarterback was ready to return for Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers.
"It's not 100 percent healed," a source told Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. "But it's looking really good. Any time you're going through the final maturation, then weighing estimates and pixels on a CT scan or MRI, there's a decision.
"Everyone is concerned, as you can imagine. But everyone is ecstatic about the way the shoulder looks. There is a significant and robust enough physical response that we could put him in position to make a decision.
"No one can say with 100 percent certainty that it's healed," the source continued. "There is risk where it was broken and where it was fixed. You have to look at it, when a player plays a high-risk sport, look at the relative risk versus a normal person. And what happens with the worst-case scenario? What's the solution?"
Rapoport reported that Rodgers pushed the most vehemently to return just eight weeks after originally suffering the injury. Another source told Rapoport that a lot of people debated and weighed in, adding, "Trust me, no one is sleeping well on Saturday... except Aaron."
Rodgers took an aggressive surgical approach to his recovery process and rehabilitated extensively with head athletic trainer Bryan Engel and trainer Nate Weir, per Rapoport. If Rodgers re-injures the collarbone, it's unlikely to be at the same spot where he suffered the injury against the Minnesota Vikings and likely wouldn't force him to miss any time in 2018.
All of those factors—combined with Rodgers' eagerness to return—contributed to No. 12 playing.
Plenty is at stake in the short term for the Packers, who at 7-6 are still in playoff contention. If the Packers win out, they'll not only give themselves an excellent opportunity to reach the postseason, but they would have done so by beating the Panthers, Vikings and Detroit Lions, all playoff hopefuls.
The Packers don't control their own destiny. The Vikings are a win away from clinching the NFC North, and a few teams ahead of them in the wild-card hunt in the Panthers (9-4), Atlanta Falcons (8-5) and Seattle Seahawks (8-5) can still finish ahead of the Packers in the standings even if Green Bay wins out.
Still, having Rodgers back gives the Packers a shot.