Yesterday, Jason brought you the speculation that the Packers may be able to have their $130 million man back on the field next Sunday, as Aaron Rodgers appears on track to return to the field. However, we are now hearing a conflicting report from an NFL Insider which suggests that he is unlikely to play in that game and could in fact be held out of the rest of the NFL season.
Dec. 8 has been the target date for #Packers QB Aaron Rodgers to return. Source now tells me "he’d be lucky" to be able to return this week— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 1, 2013
December 8th is the date of the Falcons game. Obviously we don't know about Rapoport's source or that person's proximity to the Packers organization, but that certainly doesn't sound promising.
Then again, neither does this:
For #Packers, if Rodgers can’t go this week & they have no chance at the playoffs, source said it’s possible Rodgers is shut down for 2013— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 1, 2013
Ruh roh. This probably would make fans (and #12 himself) upset, but frankly it would be in the best interests of Rodgers himself and the team for them to put him on Injured Reserve if the playoffs are out of reach. He would be protected from any further hits, and would be able to heal up to a certain 100% before next season. If the playoffs are already out of the question, there's no point in trotting him back out there anyway.
While Rodgers himself might protest, even he would have to acknowledge that risking further injury when there's nothing to play for is a fool's errand. Besides, it would ultimately be the team's decision anyway, not his. A $130 million contract gets you some pull with the front office, but not in this situation.
We'll patiently wait to see the results of the rest of the Week 13 games and Rodgers' status in practice this week before we draw any of our own conclusions, but this is not a promising report for the Packers or their quarterback, if any of those parties want to see him back on the field this season.