The mystery surrounding Aaron Rodgers’ right thumb is finally over.
After weeks of downplaying any apparent on-field discomfort to the fat finger on his throwing hand, the Green Bay Packers quarterback told the truth to local reporters Wednesday: He has been playing with a broken thumb.
Rpdgers, who turns 39 in nine days, confirmed the injury to media members and said he first hurt the digit on the final play of Green Bay’s 27-22 loss in London to the New York Giants in Week 5 — the first of what became a five-game skid, matching Rodgers’ longest as an NFL starter.
“I think I’ve had worse injuries I’ve played with,” said Rodgers on Wednesday, the same day after practicing for the first time since the Packers fell to 4-7 in Thursday’s home loss to the Tennessee Titans. “Definitely a challenge, but the days off helped. Feeling better this week.”
In recent weeks Rodgers has referenced his banged-up thumb in speaking with reporters without sharing details of the broken bone, but denied Wednesday that he was intentionally trying to avoid using his injury as an excuse for his play.
“I think it’s the truth,” Rodgers said. “My thumb was hurting a lot worse in the Dallas game (Week 10, a 31-28 Packers win in overtime), and I put the ball where I wanted to.”
Before getting hurt, the Packers were 3-2 with the reigning back-to-back and three-time league MVP completing a very Rodgers-like 67.9 percent of his passes for eight touchdowns, three interceptions and a 95.8 passer rating.
Since Week 6, when he started playing with the bum thumb, Rodgers has completed just over 62 percent of his throws for 11 touchdowns and four picks and a 91.1 rating.
More importantly, the Packers are 1-5 in that stretch and have scored 20 or more points just twice. And it’s been Rodgers’ occasional — and uncharacteristic — lack of accuracy that raised eyebrows recently.
He completed just 8 of 16 passes in the fourth quarter against Tennessee last week, although he was steadfast in not blaming what he tried to term a nagging injury.
“There’s one in every 100 that doesn’t come off the right way,” Rodgers said.
Packers coach Matt LaFleur, who already has lost as many games this season as in his previous two years combined, pointed to the five days off as a blessing for his quarterback.
“I hope it helped his thumb,” LaFleur said Wednesday.
The Packers, in third place in the NFC North and 4 1/2 games behind 8-2 Minnesota in the division, visit the NFL-best 9-1 Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday night and follow that with a key division road game against the Chicago Bears in Week 13.
–Field Level Media