Aaron Rodgers has moved his rehab from Southern California to the Jets’ facility, and his teammates are excited to see if he’s able to accomplish the unthinkable.
Rodgers tore his left Achilles tendon four offensive snaps into the Jets’ season. It was thought to be a season-ending injury. Rodgers never believed it would be. He’s back with the Jets full-time now, hoping to begin practicing soon and return to playing in late December.
“Nobody has ever seen anything like this,” Jets captain C.J. Mosley said. “You can just look at the process and where he’s at now with the injury and just be happy for him, just be glad that he’s able to walk, be glad that he’s even in this position to try and play football again especially this early.
“As a friend and as a teammate I’m happy to see him healthy, see him smiling, see him having a pep in his step which is crazy. When it comes to the football stuff if that’s God’s will and that’s the way it’s going to work out then I’ll definitely be happy with it.”
Mosley said it was good to see “a semi-new face” in the building on Monday. His presence could be motivation for the Jets (4-7) to turn around their season.
The Jets have lost four straight games and are coming off a 34-13 drubbing from the Dolphins on Black Friday. They don’t want Rodgers to do what he’s doing to come back to play in games that don’t mean much.
“Just excited to go with him through this process, just him getting back on the field, getting healthy,” Mosley said. “He’s a well-respected vet. He’s been around a long time. Just him being in the building for the whole team is another sign for us to keep taking it one day at a time, keep getting better. Just got to keep going.”
Rodgers got injured on Sept. 11 and had surgery two days later. Noted orthopedist Dr. Neil ElAttrache performed a SpeedBridge repair to shorten the recovery time.
Now, less than three months later, Rodgers is continuing his rehab while waiting on clearance to start practicing. Robert Saleh said when the Jets “get a doctor’s note” that Rodgers can practice, he’ll practice.
Rodgers turns 40 on Saturday and would like to practice this week. It seems more likely that the Jets would open Rodgers’ 21-day window to be activated next week.
He has said the Jets need to be playing for something for him to return. The Jets might not be playing for much if Rodgers comes back against Washington on Christmas Eve, but it may not stop him. He might push to play to make history and be the fastest to ever return from an Achilles tear.
There’s obviously risks, considering the injury and his age. It may not be worth it. The Jets certainly don’t want to see Rodgers get hurt again and let it seep into next year.
“Anytime you step on the football field there’s a chance of injury, there’s a chance you won’t be able to play this game again,” Mosley said. “There’s a chance that that can happen. But there’s a chance that we can all witness something that hasn’t been done before.
“It’s out of my hands. It’s Aaron’s mind and body. If he feels he’s in he right position to do something he’s put his mind and heart into then who’s to stop him. We just keep it all positive. If his mind is to it and the people on this team are saying go for it and he wants to then we all will be behind his back.”
Laken Tomlinson said when he arrived at the Jets’ facility Monday morning, Rodgers was already in there getting treatment. That inspired the Jets’ veteran left guard.
“Seeing Aaron doing treatment, a guy who’s in there doing everything he can treatment wise, for me coming in after the game that we had and seeing him and how hard he’s been working, that was motivation for me,” Tomlinson said. “That’s one thing I can control is my attitude toward my work. Just seeing Aaron working as hard as he can, that’s motivation for me.”
It might be for all the Jets.