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Aaron Rodgers officially designated to return from IR after practicing Saturday

Courtesy of USA Today Images

Aaron Rodgers has taken his first step toward potentially playing again in 2017 and is officially designated to return from IR.

As was expected, Rodgers practiced Saturday for the first time since his injury against the Minnesota Vikings. Ian Rapoport of NFL Media notes Rodgers “still isn’t cleared and won’t even be scanned until after the Browns game.”

Rodgers was seen throwing passes before the team’s last game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and throwing the ball well. He won’t be able to return at the earliest until Dec. 17 when the Packers travel to face the Carolina Panthers in Week 15.

Based on the speed at which Rodgers is recovering from his broken collarbone, a return to the field of play in 2017 is certainly possible. However, we’d fully expect Green Bay to still have a shot at the playoffs heading into Week 15, if that does happen.

As things currently stand, the Packers are still in the race for a wild card spot, but only barely. With a record of 5-6, they need to win their next two games to realistically have a shot to get in.