Packers coach Mike McCarthy thinks Aaron Rodgers is ready to return. But the decision is not up to him.
Team physician Dr. Pat McKenzie and other medical experts will determine whether the Packers quarterback is ready to take the field after missing the last eight weeks with a broken right collarbone.
"In his mind, he’s ready to go, if you watch him practice and the conversations with him," McCarthy told reporters Monday. "But this is a medical decision.
"It is now in the evaluation stage. There’s a number of medical opinions that will be involved in the decision. At this time, I do not have a clean decision for you or an update. That’s where it stands.
"Hey, it’s a process," McCarthy added. "They’re evaluating and hopefully we will have a decision as soon as we can. At the end of the day, the organization is focused on doing what’s in the best interests of Aaron Rodgers’ health."
The Packers (7-6) have gone 3-5 since Rodgers was injured on the second offensive series of a 23-10 loss to the Vikings on Oct. 15. The Packers placed him on injured reserve with the designation to return. He is eligible to return this week as the Packers prepare to face the Panthers (9-4) in a key NFC contest that has playoff implications.
Rodgers, 34, threw for 1,385 yards with 13 touchdowns and three interceptions before his injury. The two-time NFL MVP could give the Packers the boost they need to reach the playoffs for a ninth straight season.
McCarthy and his coaching staff will begin game-planning for the Panthers on Tuesday and the head coach would love to know if he'll have his starting quarterback available.
"If I don’t know (Tuesday), we’re going to be putting Pat McKenzie on IR," McCarthy joked.