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Aaron Rodgers could practice Saturday with designation to return from IR

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers after beating the Cincinnati Bengals in NFL Week 3
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Green Bay Packers are still in the NFC playoff race, and as such Aaron Rodgers looks to be on his way back to the active roster soon enough. On Friday, head coach Mike McCarthy told reporters that Rodgers could practice with the Packers Saturday for the first time since breaking his collarbone.

“The plan,” McCarthy said, per Ryan Wood of packersnews.com, “he’s got a workout today that we’ll obviously evaluate. We’re looking tomorrow to potentially practice him for a trial return. That’s the outlook. We’ll determine that tomorrow after his work today.”

Rodgers was spotted throwing passes before the team’s game Sunday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and he uncorked one that went around 50 yards. Teammate Clay Matthews actually came out this week and was highly critical about the Packers putting Rodgers on IR in the first place.

The Packers are currently 5-6 heading into Week 13. They’re clearly on the outside looking in at the two wild card spots, with the No. 10 seed right now. Atlanta and Carolina are the two teams that would be in if the playoffs were over now, but there’s a lot that will happen between now and the end of Week 17. If Green Bay can cobble together some wins and gets help, the Packers can certainly get in.

Rodgers can return to action on Dec. 17 against the Carolina Panthers. Likely, the team won’t risk him to injury if it doesn’t win the next two games to move into playoff contention. However, it the Packers do beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Cleveland Browns the next two weeks and are 7-6 heading into the final three games, we’ll be shocked if Rodgers isn’t under center.