(Reuters) - The Green Bay Packers, still hanging on to longshot playoff hopes, were dealt a blow on Friday with word that quarterback Aaron Rodgers was not cleared to return to action for Sunday's game against the Cowboys in Dallas.
Coach Mike McCarthy said Rodgers would miss his sixth game since breaking his collarbone and that the quarterback was disappointed and frustrated by the decision since he feels capable of playing.
"Frankly, it's been a difficult morning going through the conversation with Aaron and Dr. (Pat) McKenzie," said McCarthy, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "He feels that he's ready to play. He's had a good week of preparation.
"Speaking with Dr. McKenzie (the team physician), this is the right decision," the coach added, saying the call was in the best interests of Rodgers.
The Packers are 6-6-1, with NFC North co-leaders the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions both at 7-6.
Matt Flynn, who will start his third consecutive game, took all of the first team reps for Green Bay on Friday, while Rodgers stood and watched on the sidelines with his helmet off. Scott Tolzien took the backup reps.
Detroit hosts Baltimore this week and then the New York Giants before finishing the regular season at Minnesota. Chicago is at Cleveland, at Philadelphia and then has Green Bay at home in the finale.
The Packers host Pittsburgh after their trip to Dallas before ending the season in Chicago.
(Reporting by Larry Fine in New York, Editing by Gene Cherry)