Aaron Rodgers has given a further update on when he expects to be back from his Achilles injury after hinting it could be within a ‘few weeks’ on Monday night.
Footage after the game showed Rodgers, 39, tease that he was nearing a sensational return when he told Chargers safety Derwin James to ‘give me a few weeks’ before stepping out onto the field.
Rodgers was also filmed looking healthy and mobile when firing long passes into the end zone during warm-ups.
But, speaking on The Pat McAfee Show on ESPN on Tuesday, Rodgers played down speculation he was closing in on a return anytime soon.
Aaron Rodgers played down speculation that he could return to NFL action in a ‘few weeks’
Aaron Rodgers (R) told Chargers safety Derwin James that he could return in a few weeks
The veteran quarterback said: ‘I’ve known Derwin for a while. We’ve got the same agency. I’ve got a lot of respect for him and his game.
‘It was good to see him after the game. I didn’t realize that was going to get caught there. Obviously that was said a little tongue and cheek. It would be nice to be back in a couple of weeks but that’s probably not anywhere near a realistic timeline.
‘A couple could be a few, could be a lot. It was more of a phrase that didn’t have a specific timetable but I said it smiling and joking.
‘He was saying he was excited for me to get back on the field at some point and joked it would be a couple of weeks but obviously it’s going to be more than that.’
Asked how desperate he is to get back on the field, Rodgers replied: ‘It’s a tough spot because I’m just not ready. I’m not healthy. We’ve been really, really good on defense every single week.
‘It gives you a lot of confidence on offense because you expect them to three and out every time. In this league that’s just not realistic. There’s so many great players but our defense consistently shows up and makes plays.
‘It’s frustrating but I’m not healthy so it’s hard to even take my mind there. There’s been times in the past where I’ve played through injuries but it obviously limits what you can do but I’ve been able to operate.
‘If this was just a really bad calf strain I’d be out there, no question. But we’re in an eight to 12 week window where the tendon is really healing well but we’ve got to be careful. That eight to 12 window is compared to a normal healing process because of the way we’ve attacked it but we’re still a way off.
‘I’ve got to hit markers, get on to the practice field, they’ve got to open the window for me to come off IR so there’s a lot to have to happen. I’m not saying that can’t be accelerated but there’s still a lot of things I’ve got to do before we can talk about getting on the field.’
Rodgers tore his left Achilles tendon four snaps into his debut with the Jets on Sept. 11.
Reports emerged slightly after Rodgers underwent surgery that he may have been targeting an improbable return in the playoffs after undergoing a relatively new process that placed an internal brace in his ankle known as a ‘speed bridge.’
The procedure was performed by renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. Neal ElAttrache who also operated on Kobe Bryant’s torn Achilles in 2013 and saw the legendary Laker return to the court in eight months.
Rodgers watched from the sidelines as the struggling Jets were beaten 27-6 by the Chargers
Although no specific timetables or guarantees have been given for Rodgers’ possible return to the field, it appears the groundbreaking surgery may indeed be helping the 10-time Pro Bowler recover at a much faster rate than normally seen after an Achilles tear.
When asked whether the Jets’ dismal offensive displays were making him reconsider his recovery timeline, Rodgers added: ‘I have a lot of faith in our guys. I feel we’re going to be in the mix for sure.
‘That is a very small part of the thought process because it’s really just a day to day trying to get better, keep strengthening the calf, trying to add more movement and flexibility. It’s going to be a process, it’s going to be small gains every single day and then hopefully there’s a chance to have that conversation.
‘Obviously we’ve got to be in a mix. There’s no doubt about it but more than that I’ve got to be healthy, to move, to protect myself, to be able to have strength in all the throwing positions.
‘I’m feeling a lot more strength in the Achilles but we’re a long way off from being under center. It’s going to be a process but I like where I’m at. Definitely, obviously, ahead of schedule. I’m thankful for everybody helping me with my rehab. It’s a tough situation, it’s been a grind.
‘But it’s eight weeks tomorrow since surgery and I’m grateful to be moving, being more normal every day.’
More to follow.