Aaron Rodgers throws in Jets practice after Robert Saleh initiates a 21-day window for QB’s return

The Super Bowl-aspiring New York Jets now find themselves on the brink of missing a playoff run with only four victories to date. After setting their full hope on Zach Wilson following Aaron Rodger’s season-ending injury, the team has seemingly lost their trust in the young QB while eyeing more on the return of Aaron to the gridiron.

Though just one day ago, the Jets offensive leader threw two astounding conditions for his potential return, suddenly he stunned the football world with a return on the practice squad.

Aaron Rodgers returns to practice

Wednesday was a sunny day for the citizens of the Big Apple. Nevertheless, it was more than just a sunny day for the Jets team, as Aaron Rodgers made a surprising return to Jets practice on Wednesday. It marked a remarkable milestone in his recovery journey, just three months after a devastating torn Achilles injury.

The former Green Bay Packers player was spotted in full concentration while passing the ball to his teammates. No day can be so bright and exciting for the Jets team, as they are eagerly waiting to see their superstar’s return.

Meanwhile, like some medical experts, this swift progress has raised eyebrows and stirred conversations about the unusual pace of his rehabilitation efforts. CBS Sports HQ Injury Expert Marty Jaramillo also joined them while acknowledging Rodgers’ exceptional recovery and expressing cautious optimism.

Jaramillo noted that the starter’s medical team might be holding their breath with this accelerated timeline, thrashing out that the traditional rehab protocol for such injuries which typically spans eight to 12 months. 

“His recovery is on pace to slash traditional rehab protocols by (more than) half. Week 16 would be four months from surgery. At minimum, it’s typically eight to 12 months. At the end of the day, he is in charge, and (his) medical team is letting Aaron do his thing with key constraints,” Jaramillo said per CBS Sports.

Rodgers’ journey from the sidelines to the practice field showcases his determination and commitment to getting back into the game. The quarterback, joining the Jets after an illustrious 18-season stint with the Packers, faced a challenging setback in the season opener. He ruptured his left Achilles tendon and underwent surgery on September 14.

Aaron Rodgers then made a return to MetLife Stadium during Week 4’s Sunday Night Football matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs. During this appearance, he navigated the stadium on crutches, showcasing his early steps in the recovery process.

In a span of two weeks, as the Jets hosted the Philadelphia Eagles, Rodgers progressed to engaging in a gentle game of catch with his teammates. He further demonstrated advancement before the Week 9 game against the Los Angeles Chargers, undertaking some mini-dropbacks and showcasing his commitment to a gradual and careful rehabilitation journey.

Saleh allows 21-day window for Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers’s return to practice triggers a 21-day practice window, a crucial period for players who have been sidelined for at least six weeks.

Jets head coach Robert Saleh made it plain that activating Aaron Rodgers for the 21-day practice window isn’t solely about preparing him for immediate gameplay. It rather marks a step forward in his rehabilitation journey. Saleh clarified that Rodgers’ practice routine won’t significantly differ from the activities he would undertake on a side field during individual drills.

“This isn’t so much getting ready to play as much as it is a progression in his rehab. For Aaron, what he’ll be doing in practice is no different than what he’d be doing on [a side field] with regard to certain drill and individual.”

According to Saleh, the transition to team practices is a natural progression in Rodgers’ recovery, replacing throws to staff members with passes to teammates. The Jets HC conveyed his optimism that this step doesn’t pose any additional risk as the 39-year-old has already received clearance for specific activities integral to his rehabilitation.

“Instead of throwing with staff members, he’ll be throwing to teammates. There’s no added risk to it. There are certain things that he’s been cleared for that we’ll allow him to do.”

During this window, A-Rod can fully engage in team practices, allowing the Jets coaching staff to assess his readiness for a return to active duty. The decision to add him to the active roster must be made by the end of the 21-day period. Failing to do so would mean Rodgers has to sit out the remainder of the season.

Though Rodgers hasn’t specified a return date, reports and his cryptic message suggest a potential comeback in Week 17. The quarterback has consistently expressed confidence in his rehabilitation progress from the Achilles injury, with rumors circulating about his aim to rejoin the Jets for their Christmas Eve clash against the Commanders.

The Jets organization faces a deadline of December 20 to activate Aaron Rodgers. If they utilize the entire practice window before making a decision, fans may witness Rodgers’ comeback in Week 16 or 17 at MetLife Stadium.

It will surely create an exciting scenario for the team’s late-season matchups. The looming decision will undoubtedly shape the Jets’ strategy as they weigh the quarterback’s readiness against the urgency of their playoff aspirations.

Shabiha Akter

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Shabiha, once a casual observer, has morphed into a die-hard NFL fan. She carefully dissects every play, trade, and strategy. Whether it's breaking down game highlights or predicting playoff outcomes, Shabiha is your go-to source for all things NFL.


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