Christmas will not come early this year for the Green Bay Packers (7-6-1). Packers head coach Mike McCarthy announced early Friday afternoon that former Super Bowl champion and MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been ruled out against the Pittsburgh Steelers (6-8) at Lambeau Field on Sunday and he will miss his seventh consecutive start.
Rodgers, McCarthy and team physician Pat McKenzie met on Friday morning to discuss the injury and came to an "organizational agreement" that Rodgers is not ready to play this weekend. On Thursday, McCarthy told reporters he believed Rodgers has "looked sharp" and ready to play in practice leading up to Friday's meeting, but the quarterback hadn't received medical clearance.
"A lot of conversation happened about Aaron (Rodgers), but as an organization, we feel he is not ready to play," McCarthy said. "He understands where we are, everything has been explained, but he obviously wants to play."
One week ago before the Packers traveled to Texas to play the Dallas Cowboys, McKenzie and McCarthy ruled Rodgers out. Rodgers said he understood why he was ruled out before the Dallas game, but he said he felt ready to play and was "frustrated" by last week's decision.
"I think Aaron clearly wants to play," McCarthy said. "He is a very competitive man. He has done everything he possibly can from his end of it."
Rodgers hasn't appeared in a game since breaking his collarbone on the second-last play of the opening drive against the Chicago Bears in week nine. Without Rodgers, Matt Flynn will start under center for the fourth consecutive game and try to keep Green Bay in the playoff hunt.
Before breaking his collarbone, Rodgers was completing 67% of his passes for 2,218 yards, threw 15 touchdowns and four interceptions in seven-plus games. Since Rodgers' injury, Packers quarterbacks Flynn, Seneca Wallace and Scott Tolzien have compiled a 2-4-1 record in games where Rodgers did not finish and have thrown nine interceptions.
In wins over the Atlanta Falcons and Cowboys over the past two weeks, Flynn has completed 70% of his passes for 550 yards, has thrown five touchdown passes and two interceptions. If Green Bay defeats Pittsburgh and the Bears (8-6) in their final two games, they would win the NFC North title and reach the playoffs for a fifth consecutive season.
In other injury news, McCarthy announced that defensive tackle Johnny Jolly (shoulder) has been ruled out for Sunday and tight end Brandon Bostick suffered a foot injury which will require season-ending surgery. McCarthy told reporters on Thursday that Jolly suffered a "significant" injury against the Cowboys and according to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Packers will likely place Jolly on the injured-reserve (IR) list.
The Packers haven't announced any transactions yet regarding who would replace Bostick and Jolly on the roster, assuming the Packers place both players on the IR.
Here is the Packers official injury report before Sunday's game:
|PLAYER NAME (INJURY):||STATUS:|
|DT Johnny Jolly (shoulder)||OUT|
|TE Brandon Bostick (foot)||OUT|
|QB Aaron Rodgers (collarbone)||OUT|
|DE C.J. Wilson (ankle)||QUESTIONABLE|
|DT Ryan Pickett (knee)||PROBABLE|
|LB Brad Jones (ankle)||PROBABLE|
|RB Eddie Lacy (ankle)||PROBABLE|
|DE/LB Mike Neal (abdomen)||PROBABLE|
|OLB Nick Perry (foot)||PROBABLE|
Steelers and Packers kickoff from Lambeau Field at 3:15 CST. Check your local listings for television coverage.
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