Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers confirmed Wednesday that he has been playing with a broken thumb on his throwing hand since Week 5, when he sustained the injury attempting a Hail Mary pass on the last play of a 27-22 loss to the Giants in London. Here’s what you need to know:
- The Packers have gone 1-5 since that game, with Rodgers completing 129-of-208 passes (62 percent) with 230.8 passing yards per game, 11 touchdowns and four interceptions.
- Over that span, his offensive pass EPA per dropback (-0.06) ranks 27th in the NFL, per TruMedia. From Weeks 1 through 5, Rodgers tied for 21st in the league with an offensive pass EPA per dropback of -0.01.
Rodgers spoke publicly Wednesday about the actual diagnosis because last week, a Packers fan and podcaster named Branden broke the news after speaking with Rodgers during a Make-A-Wish visit to Lambeau Field.
Since this is a big talking point today let’s break some news. I asked Rodgers during my Make-A-Wish how his finger is and he replied that his thumb is actually broken. His thumb was still really bruised and swollen last Saturday.
— Big B (@bigpackers4x) November 18, 2022
On Wednesday, Rodgers responded with a smile when the first question at his locker began with how the news finally got out.
Aaron Rodgers confirmed today his right thumb has been broken since Week 5, when the injury happened on the last play in London.
Here he is talking about it for a bit. Surgery has never been a thought and it won’t be after the season, either, he said. pic.twitter.com/FbbMOkXYtc
— Matt Schneidman (@mattschneidman) November 23, 2022
Is surgery ahead?
Rodgers said he was in “some pain” on the flight from London to Green Bay and didn’t want to get an X-ray because he knew he was going to play through whatever the injury was, so he didn’t care what the X-ray showed. He was talked into getting an X-ray anyway, and it revealed a broken right thumb.
Rodgers said, “No, I don’t think so,” when asked if surgery was ever considered. He also said, “I don’t think so, no,” when asked if the thumb will require fixing in the offseason. Rodgers has taken some Wednesday practices off since the injury, but he practiced Wednesday ahead of Sunday night’s game in Philadelphia, albeit in a limited capacity according to the injury report. Rodgers said he got a “full practice today with under-center snaps.”
His rehab has consisted of a lot of grip work, and he has worn a tape contraption around his right thumb during practices and games. – Schneidman
Does Rodgers believe it’s affected his accuracy?
Rodgers said his thumb didn’t affect his accuracy in last Thursday’s loss to the Titans even though he missed the mark on a few throws, including one in which he threw slightly high to a wide-open Allen Lazard on third-and-3 from Tennessee’s 37-yard line late in the fourth quarter while trailing by 10.
Rodgers was asked if he said that because he didn’t want to use the thumb as an excuse.
“I think that’s the truth,” he said. “I really do. … My thumb was hurting a lot worse in the Dallas game, and I put the ball where I wanted to.” – Schneidman
How has it affected play calling?
Rodgers said he hadn’t taken a lot of under-center practice snaps in the week leading up to the win over Dallas in Week 10, when the Packers went under center on 31-of-61 offensive plays and gained 205 yards for three touchdowns on them, according to Next Gen Stats. Rodgers completed 14-of-20 passes for 224 yards and three touchdowns to rookie wide receiver Christian Watson while completing 9-of-11 passes using play-action for 148 yards and two touchdowns.
Rodgers added that he told coaches to not hold any part of the game plan back because of his thumb, and that the Packers haven’t skewed toward more shotgun snaps to protect his thumb.
The thumb hadn’t been improving or feeling significantly worse in those weeks. According to Rodgers, there were a couple plays each game — a snap slightly inside or a hit — that resulted in dull pain that Rodgers had to work through. But this week is the best it has felt since the initial injury, he said, and the Packers will need Rodgers at his best against the 9-1 Eagles in prime time since the only realistic way for Green Bay to sneak into the playoffs is to win its final six games. – Schneidman
Is there any chance the Packers make the playoffs?
The Packers were 4-6 in 2016 entering their Week 12 prime-time game in Philadelphia, but they beat the 5-5 Eagles, 27-13, and won their final five games to finish 10-6 and win the NFC North. Rodgers was 30-of-39 passing that night for 313 yards and two touchdowns after saying ahead of the game, “I feel like we can run the table. I really do.”
Rodgers didn’t have an iconic run-the-table type of phrase Wednesday, but even with a broken throwing thumb, he carries the belief that the Packers can win out to make the playoffs if they play up to their potential.
“I think when you win, it creates momentum,” Rodgers said. “When I said it in 2016, how many people actually believed then? Probably not many. But then we got the first one. Then we came home and got the second one. We beat Seattle, got the third one and I think there was a lot of momentum that started in the locker room and guys started realizing this was a possibility, and it’s like a snowball effect rolling downhill. And so we gotta pack that snowball this week and get it to the top of the hill and let it start rolling downhill.” – Schneidman
(Photo: Patrick McDermott / Getty Images)