Face it, a Russell Wilson vs. Aaron Rodgers matchup is a lot more intriguing than Geno Smith against Jordan Love.
The Seattle Seahawks (3-5) and Green Bay Packers (7-2) both hope to have their starting quarterbacks return when the teams meet Sunday at Lambeau Field.
Wilson, who had started every game through his first nine NFL seasons, has been out since he fractured the middle finger on his right (throwing) hand Oct. 7 and had surgery soon thereafter.
The original diagnosis had Wilson missing six to eight weeks.
“This is a remarkable story of recovery,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “A guy set an intent that he was going to do this and pull it off. I mean, he’s way ahead of schedule. We just came off the practice field and he threw the ball all over the place.”
The Seahawks’ bye last week allowed Wilson to miss only three games, during which Seattle went 1-2 with Smith under center.
Rodgers was absent for Green Bay’s 13-7 loss last Sunday at Kansas City while in the league’s COVID-19 protocol after testing positive.
Rodgers said this week that he feels “really good,” but he has remained in quarantine and can’t be reinstated until Saturday at the earliest.
“I just do believe there’s a health hurdle that I have to (clear) as far as like movement and sweating and getting into it, making sure my body, especially heart, is fine with physical exertion,” Rodgers said.
Packers coach Matt LeFleur said Love would take the reps with the first-team offense in practice this week, just in case Rodgers isn’t cleared.
“You always have to prepare for either guy to be available, so you have to have a healthy mix that both are comfortable with,” LaFleur said.
LaFleur said he wasn’t concerned about Rodgers playing Sunday without having practiced during the week.
“I think he’s gone through enough where, yeah, you’d like guys to practice all week long, but I don’t think it’s absolutely imperative to be able to do that,” LaFleur said. “We just have to make sure he’s well in-tune with our plan and he feels good about it and that we Zoom him in for the meetings or whatever it may be. But we’ll see where we’re at toward the end of the week.”
Wilson and Rodgers might not be the only key players returning Sunday.
Seattle running back Chris Carson returned to practice this week after being out since Week 4 with a neck injury.
Carson is still questionable for Sunday’s game.
“He’s got to make it through the week of work, and like we always talk about, it’s a one-day-at-a-time thing,” Carroll said. “He’ll get banged around a little bit (in practice). But just see how he responds to it. It’s pretty important to get a good beat on this one. He’ll feel good physically, run around and all that because he’s in great shape and working really hard.”
Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari, a 2020 All-Pro selection, has been activated from the physically unable to perform list. Bakhtiari hasn’t played since tearing his left anterior cruciate ligament in late December.
Elgton Jenkins, a 2020 Pro Bowl left guard who has been filling in for Bakhtiari at tackle, wasn’t sure which position he’d be manning Sunday.
“We really don’t know right now,” Jenkins said. “It depends on how the week goes. Whatever happens, whatever position, I’m basically ready for it.”
Among those limited at practice this week were Seahawks running back Alex Collins (groin) and offensive guard Jamarco Jones (ankle) and Packers defensive linemen Kenny Clark (back) and Kingsley Keke (concussion), offensive tackle Dennis Kelly (back), wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown (ankle) and cornerback Eric Stokes (knee).
–Field Level Media
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