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Rodgers Will Make Push To Play Sunday

Injured quarterback Aaron Rodgers didn't throw the ball at Wednesday's practice, but he and Head Coach Mike McCarthy both reiterated that he will be given every chance to play Sunday against Atlanta.

Rodgers, who sprained his right shoulder trying to extend the ball for a first down on a third-quarter scramble at Tampa Bay last Sunday, took a handful of snaps in the jog-through portion but just handed the ball off before heading in for rehabilitation.

McCarthy said the plan is for Rodgers to not throw at all again Thursday before being evaluated Friday to see if he has made the necessary progress to be ready for the game.

"He will be re-examined again on Friday morning, which is customary in our medical process through the week," McCarthy said. "The players go through evaluations on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Aaron will follow the same pattern.

"As far as his progress that he's made from Monday to today, he's gotten better each day in rehab. He's very positive, feels like he's improving, and I'm going to give him every possible chance to play in the game."

McCarthy said Rodgers' focus thus far this week has not been on resting the shoulder, but rehabilitation.

"He's going through a number of different exercises, starting with throwing a tennis ball, to a heavier weighted ball," McCarthy said. "He's already started that progression. He's rehabbed it pretty hard.

"He was a little sore this morning based on the amount of work that he went through yesterday. He was here in the morning, left, had a massage and then came back and worked it again later in the afternoon. He's on top of it."

Rodgers said that while he does still have quite a bit of pain from the injury, the strength in his shoulder will be the determining factor in his ability to play Sunday.

"The pain is something I feel like I can deal with," Rodgers said. "It's the strength. If I don't have the strength to be able to make the throws that I know I am capable of making, then it doesn't really matter how much pain I am in. If I have the strength, I think I can deal with the pain.

"When you have an injury like I did, that's the most important thing is getting that strength back. Once I get that back I feel like I'll be able to play. It's not quite all the way there yet."

Rodgers showed his ability to play with the pain against Tampa Bay. After coming out for one series following the injury, he returned later in the third quarter to connect with wide receiver Greg Jennings on a deep slant for a 48-yard touchdown.

"The throw before, my arm was killing me so bad, I barely even flicked it out to (Ryan) Grant on the screen," Rodgers said. "Then we called the all-go the next play. I said, 'All right, let's see if we can do this.' I just reared back, looked down the middle, threw it to Greg, and he made a good play."

If Rodgers isn't healthy enough to play Sunday, the starting nod will go to rookie Matt Flynn, with fellow rookie Brian Brohm backing him up.

Flynn played two series in relief of Rodgers Sunday in his first action since two kneel downs at the end of game at Detroit, and completed 2-of-5 passes for six yards. He took the majority of reps in practice Wednesday and said he doesn't feel like the Packers' game plan will be scaled back at all if he is under center against Atlanta.

"I'm still going to prepare the same, prepare like I have every week just in case I need to play," Flynn said. "I'm going to prepare and be ready to go. If it's called upon for me to go in, just like every week, I want to go in and not have a drop-off.

"I think whatever happens we are going to be aggressive on offense and try to move the ball. I don't think that whoever is in there it's going to be conservative or called back any."

{sportsad300}For Flynn, the No. 2 role is one he has plenty of familiarity with from his time as a collegian, where he spent three years backing up future NFL draft picks JaMarcus Russell and Matt Mauck before finally getting his opportunity as a senior at LSU. In 2007, Flynn led the Tigers to the BCS National Championship, earning Offensive MVP honors in the title-game win over Ohio State.

"It's definitely helped me, my past experience," Flynn said. "I understand the position that I have, what it takes. The mental preparation, the physical preparation, I understand that and I understand what it's like and the things that I need to do if I do have the chance to go in there."

McCarthy has said on several occasions that it is important for Rodgers to be a scrambling quarterback and not a running quarterback as he looks to avoid getting hurt, and Rodgers said the the play that he suffered the injury on against the Buccaneers fell into that category.

"I'm still going to be the same player," Rodgers said. "I was just trying to make a play, trying to stretch my arm out there, and unfortunately that happened. It wasn't like I took a hit. I'm not going to take any unnecessary hits."

Rodgers has had to deal with comparisons to his predecessor, Brett Favre, on several occasions already this season. Favre was well-known for his durability and ability to play through injuries, but Rodgers said that is not affecting his thought process as he makes every effort to get ready for the Falcons.

"That has no bearing on this season at all," Rodgers said. "I want to play because I want to play. That's it."

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