Ultimately, Aaron Rodgers will not return to the football field until Dr. Pat McKenzie says he can.

That’s what Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Monday, as the Packers began their preparations for the Dallas Cowboys with backup Matt Flynn set to make his third consecutive start.

It’s unclear if McKenzie, the longtime Packers team physician, could be lobbied in any way by an anxious Rodgers, who hasn’t played since fracturing his left collarbone against the Chicago Bears on Nov. 4. But McCarthy didn’t sound like the decision would be open to debate.

“The way we’ve always done it, that’s with medical clearance,” McCarthy said Monday, one day after the Packers got their first victory without Rodgers, a 22-21 triumph over downtrodden Atlanta that snapped an 0-4-1 winless skid. “Obviously, when a player is in a rehab position, there’s conversation and obviously all the testing is done. That meeting goes on and ultimately Pat has to clear him. Dr. McKenzie has to clear the player.”

Two weeks ago, Rodgers said on his weekly radio show on 540 ESPN and ESPNWisconsin.com that he was hoping he could influence both McCarthy and McKenzie if he feels good and feels the Packers need him. After the victory over the Falcons, the Packers (6-6-1) are a half-game behind the Detroit Lions (7-6) and the Bears (7-6) following Chicago’s blowout victory over the Cowboys (7-6) on Monday Night Football.

“I respect their opinion, so I obviously listen to them and take all that into account, but I think we’ve come to some agreements during my years as a player and a starter where we might not all agree that it’s right to play, but we agree that the risk is low enough that if I feel good enough to play, I can play,” Rodgers said on Nov. 26. “I think that’s kind of the way that we operate. I trust Mike to kind of save me from myself at times, and Doc to be the voice of reason.

“But I know my body better than anybody and it’s just a matter of combining the strength, the flexibility, the lack of pain and the low-risk. And when all those align, then I’ll be back on the field. .. My decision is based on how I feel and when I’m ready to play, I’ll play.”

Well, we shall see about that. Rodgers is slated to do his radio show again Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. CST.

McCarthy said the plan with Rodgers is for him to work out for the training staff on Tuesday, then be evaluated Wednesday by McKenzie.