The Aaron Rodgers saga marched on in full force on Thursday, as the Packers quarterback took first-team repetitions for Green Bay in practice, fueling hope for Packers fans that he could return for Week 17's do-or-die game against the Bears.
Mike McCarthy's slated to speak with the media on Thursday afternoon and the expectation is he'll announce whether or not Rodgers can play.
For now, Rodgers performance in practice and the reps he took were termed by multiple Packers beat writers as "encouraging."
Will wait for #Packers coach Mike McCarthy and official announcement, but encouraging signs from Rodgers. Took every first snap in drills.— Jason Wilde (@jasonjwilde) December 26, 2013
Rodgers taking the first snap among QBs in both ball security and in a fundamentals drill on which QBs throw to WRs vs. DBs.— Jason Wilde (@jasonjwilde) December 26, 2013
It would be an upset if Rodgers played. He suffered a broken collarbone and the Packers don't want to risk the long-term future of Rodgers by putting him on the field too early. They've got a conservative medical staff (which is not a bad thing). Matt Flynn's been OK. The Bears have a horrible defense. They can potentially advance to the playoffs without risking Rodgers.
But right now there's a lot of optimism in Green Bay that Rodgers could return to try and win the NFC North.