GREEN BAY, Wis. — The Packers’ franchise quarterback is taking a seat.
Aaron Rodgers said Tuesday he has a fractured left collarbone and has no idea yet how long he will be out.
The 2011 NFL MVP offered details of the injury on his weekly radio show on 540-AM ESPN. He got hurt after getting sacked by the Bears’ Shea McClellin on a third-down play during the Packers’ first series while he was scrambling outside the pocket. He hurt his left, non-throwing shoulder.
“I do have a fractured collarbone. That’s a significant injury,” Rodgers said. “We’ll know more about the severity and the timetable later this week.”
Rodgers said he was holding out hope he would heal quickly. “In this case, it was considerably more pain than I’ve felt in a long time,” he added.
That collective groan you heard came from the state of Wisconsin.
The sliver of good news for the Packers: coach Mike McCarthy indicated that the injury won’t end Rodgers’ season. He sounded much more optimistic than after Monday night’s 27-20 loss to Chicago.
“I’m relieved, no doubt,” McCarthy told reporters at Lambeau Field. “With the new information that was given today, everybody felt better about it. How long? We don’t have our hands around a timeline yet, but I know Aaron is very optimistic and he’ll do everything he can to get back in a timely fashion.”
So in steps Seneca Wallace, who wasn’t even in Packers training camp this offseason, to take over the offense when the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. Wallace was signed before the week of the season opener after Green Bay jettisoned three other backup candidates.
Wallace was ineffective in relief in the 27-20 loss against the Bears, finishing 11 for 19 for 114 yards and an interception. It was his first game since Jan. 1, 2012.
The Packers can wait until Friday to officially rule out injured players, but McCarthy said “I’m preparing Seneca to be the starter, that’s the way our game-planning has gone.”
Yet he seemed to leave open a glimmer of miraculous hope.
“But let’s not kid ourselves, if (Rodgers) walked in your office and asked for the ball on Saturday, what would you do,” he asked rhetorically. “So, we’ll just see what happens.”
On a team rocked all season by injuries, Rodgers had been a rock. The Packers had reeled off four straight wins despite being without top players like linebacker Clay Matthews (thumb), Randall Cobb (leg) and Jermichael Finley (neck).
Losing Rodgers might be the most devastating blow of all.
His timing, accuracy and footwork have been typically top-notch. Protected by an improved offensive line, and complemented by a rejuvenated running game, the Packers looked to be serious NFC contenders again considering guys like Matthews and Cobb were expected to return.
Rodgers entered Monday night having completed 67 percent of his 249 pass attempts for 2,191 yards and a 108.0 quarterback rating. He has 15 touchdown passes and four interceptions.
And since taking over for the equally dependable Brett Favre in 2008, Rodgers has only missed a game due to injury once — on Dec. 19, 2010, for a concussion.
Rodgers got emotional at one point during his 15-minute radio appearance when he described the reception he got from fans as he walked back to sideline in green warmups in the third quarter.
“We put our bodies on the line. We do it because we love this game. But when I walked back out on that field — I’m getting a little choked up here just thinking about it,” Rodgers said, “that was one of the top five moments of my career there.”
Notes: Finley was placed on injured reserve Tuesday, officially ending his season. Finley, a free agent after this season, has said he plans to play again. “The medical decision made for Jermichael was in the best interest of him as a man, as a father, as a husband. This wasn’t about football, we were not going to take that chance,” McCarthy said. … Matthews will try to practice this week with a club after having pins removed from his injured right thumb. … The team also placed linebacker Sam Barrington (hamstring) on injured reserve, and activated tackle Derek Sherrod from the reserve/physically unable to perform list. Sherrod, a first-round draft pick in 2001, hasn’t played since breaking his leg in December 2011.