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Step It Up: New York Jets Clear Aaron Rodgers for Practice

Step It Up: New York Jets Clear Aaron Rodgers for Practice. With Rodgers returning to practice, can he pull off the comeback?
Aaron Rodgers Fantasy 2023

The word “recovery” has been in the vernacular of every New York Jets fan this season. It started of course once Aaron Rodgers tore his Achilles in his first game at MetLife Stadium. Sadly, he wasn’t the only player dealing with injuries this season. The offensive line in particular has been devastated, including star right tackle Alijah Vera-Tucker also tearing his Achilles. However, the team has had some surprisingly optimistic news for a change. On Wednesday, the team officially opened the 21-day practice window for Aaron Rodgers. Even though he still has work to do to be game-ready, this news is a breath of fresh air for the fanbase. Aaron returning to practice less than 80 days from the initial injury is a massive milestone in Achilles injury recovery. But the question remains: should Aaron Rodgers risk returning this season?

Step It Up: New York Jets Clear Aaron Rodgers for Practice

After reaching a record of 7-9 and creating one of the best defenses in the league, Joe Douglas felt the team was a quarterback away from a productive offense. As a result, he hired Nathaniel Hackett as the team’s offensive coordinator followed by signing former Green Bay Packer Allen Lazard. These moves led to the speculation that New York was pursuing Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers. On April 24, it became a reality when Green Bay and New York agreed to a trade sending the four-time MVP to New York. Optimism was at an all-time high and quickly faded once the 40-year-old quarterback tore his Achilles.

Once the injury was official, the fan base feared that the future Hall of Famer would be done for good. Traditionally it’s often difficult to return to the same level of production with a repaired Achilles. Especially for an athlete approaching their 40s. However, Rodgers not only gave his commitment to return in 2024 but also to start his rehab immediately. The veteran agreed to undergo an experimental surgical placing a “speed bridge” on the tendon to help aid recovery. Rodgers’ recovery has been the main talking point of the season because of how putrid the offense has been without him. The team went from 4-3 after defeating the New York Giants to losing 4 games straight. Led by Zach Wilson and a start from Tim Boyle, the team is now 4-7 with the playoffs looking like a fantasy.

Aaron returns to practice

While the offense has struggled, the media kept their attention on Rodgers. Within a few weeks, he was off crutches and didn’t need a walking boot. He warmed up with the team before games throwing passes. Now, a new milestone in his recovery has been met. The team officially opened a 21-day practice window on Wednesday. This allows New York the next three weeks to ramp up Aaron’s workouts with the option of placing him off injured reserve and on the 53-man roster. Hearing this after a torn Achilles less than three months ago is a monumental achievement for the 40-year-old quarterback.

To clarify, this does not mean Aaron Rodgers will be ready to play the Falcons during this week. However, if the Jets can manage a win, and return some of their injured offensive linemen, a return this season isn’t out of the question. Ideally, Jets fans would love nothing more than to see Rodgers back on the field and give the team a late push for the wildcard. But, that’s simply unrealistic. It’d be easier if the tea, had a winning record right now, but at 4-7, it’s hard to make it even with Rodgers back. Especially with the state of the offensive line is in.

Christmas Eve Miracle

Rodgers said that the team’s record will also affect his decision. It’s improbable to think he’ll risk re-injury if the team is 4-8 or 5-9. However, in the event he should return, speculation has mentioned that Christmas Eve vs. Washington would be a key date. This makes sense considering the practice window and it being the last home game of the season. It would be a massive and unnecessary risk on Aaron Rodgers’s part to jeopardize 2024 by returning now. Especially with the franchise close to locking a top-10 pick in the draft. Then again, what better way to cap off a crazy season than seeing Aaron Rodgers returning before Christmas?

Main Photo: [Jonathan Jones] – USA Today Sports


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