Aaron Rodgers takes first-team reps for Packers Thursday

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."

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.

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Will Brinson joined CBS Sports in 2010 and enters his seventh season covering the NFL for CBS. He previously wrote for FanHouse along with myriad other Internet sites. A North Carolina native who lives... Full Bio

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