GREEN BAY – Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers clarified Wednesday he has a fractured toe but vowed now to miss any games because of it.
Rodgers provided additional detail regarding his toe injury to refute a media report that he had "COVID toe" as a result of his bout with the coronavirus.
He said he fractured his pinky toe during the ramp-up exercise period as he worked toward gaining medical clearance to play in the Packers' Week 10 game vs. Seattle. He didn't know the toe was broken until he got it X-rayed the day before the Seahawks game, which was his first day back in the team facility following a 10-day quarantine.
Rodgers did not practice Wednesday after practicing only on a limited basis last Friday prior to his 385-yard, four-touchdown performance at Minnesota.
He plans to continue treating the injury as a pain management issue, hoping it'll heal at least a little over the Packers' upcoming bye week. He mentioned there are some surgical options that might not require him to sit out any games, which is his priority.
"I don't plan on missing any time," he said. "I'll try to be on the practice field as much as I can, deal with the pain, and the goal is to play every single week.
"I'll definitely look at all options over the bye and decide what would be best to make sure that I get to the finish line."
More immediately, his challenge is to prepare for the same Rams defense he and the Packers handled well in the playoffs last January, but L.A.'s unit will look a bit different.
The changes have less to do, though, with Raheem Morris taking over as defensive coordinator for Brandon Staley (now the Chargers' head coach) and assistant Joe Barry now running Green Bay's defense.
The bigger differences are up front in the addition of veteran edge rusher Von Miller and the health of three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald.
Donald tried to fight through a rib injury in the playoff meeting 10 months ago and clearly wasn't himself. In the meantime, the Packers are dealing with yet another change on their offensive line, with Yosh Nijman now stepping in at left tackle for Elgton Jenkins, who was lost for the season to a knee injury from the Minnesota game.
"A healthy Aaron Donald is a menace to any offense he goes against," Rodgers said. "We're going to have to have a good plan for the protection. Last year, we ran the ball pretty well.
"You've got to run the ball against teams that want to play two-high (safeties). That's always going to be a part of what we're trying to do."
With the running game, Aaron Jones was back on the practice field Wednesday for the Packers after missing last week's game, and Head Coach Matt LaFleur said he'd be evaluated at week's end regarding availability. AJ Dillon was the primary running back against the Vikings and churned out 97 total yards on 17 touches (11 rushes, 53 yards; six receptions, 44 yards).
Rodgers pointed out the ground game was the difference-maker in the playoff matchup, with the Packers piling up 188 rushing yards. Jones' 60-yard run early in the second half allowed the Packers to pound away on the ground to set up a 58-yard TD pass to Allen Lazard that put the game away in the fourth quarter.
But again, that all was accomplished against a compromised Donald, for whom the Rams scheme as best they can to get single blocks. Calling Donald a "monster" and a "game-wrecker," LaFleur said the Rams will line up Donald in different spots to make it harder for offenses to target him with their blocking schemes.
He's as good a run defender as he is an interior pass rusher, according to LaFleur, which is saying something about a guy who's had double-digit sacks five times in the last six years and has six sacks through 10 games this season.
"You better know where he's aligned on every play and you've got to make sure that you're putting your players in the best position possible to go against him," LaFleur said. "He plays a lot of snaps, his effort is relentless, he is a guy that just can completely take over a football game."