Over the 15-year span from 1976 to 1990 the Green Bay Packers' top three quarterbacks suffered season-ending injuries so severe that all were physically handicapped to a degree upon their return. Lynn Dickey suffered a separated right shoulder in 1976 and then a broken leg in mid-1977 that sidelined him for more than a year and a half. Randy Wright blew out his knee as a rookie in 1984. Don Majkowski underwent rotator cuff surgery in his right shoulder in 1990. Even Bart Starr saw his career end prematurely in 1971 after an assortment of arm and elbow injuries. Back then, the sight of quarterbacks getting carted off the field was as much a part of the football landscape in Green Bay as losing seasons. When Brett Favre arrived in 1992 to start 277 consecutive games, it was like an overdue gift from the football gods. Now, with Aaron Rodgers having missed just one game due to injury in his five seasons as starter, a generation of fans has never seen the Packers' quarterback go down. Will this 21-year streak of indestructibility at the quarterback position extend to 22 in 2013? Given the extraordinary importance of Rodgers and the sketchiness of his backups, the Packers' championship chances depend on it. As recently as two years ago, Rodgers' health was an issue. In 2010, he suffered the first concussion of his career in Game 5 and then a second in Game 13. He sat out half of one game and another complete game (the Packers went 0-2) but has started the last 41 without incident. Rodgers changed to a more protective helmet after the concussions. He also has governed himself far better in the open field while mastering how and when to slide. Over the years, Rodgers also has made himself stronger and leaner with greater attention to personal fitness. Described before the draft in 2005 as "just so fragile" by an AFC personnel director, Rodgers' body today is far better served to absorb punishment. "He came back in great shape," quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo said. "He has a competitive edge about him that probably separates him from the rest." Not unlike Favre, Rodgers has shown a remarkable ability to play through injury. He played four football seasons — two in high school, one in junior college and one at California — with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. At last, he relented and had surgery performed after his first season with the Golden Bears. During the '03 season, Rodgers suffered a broken index finger on his throwing hand but missed just one day of practice. It was beginning to appear as though Rodgers really was injury-prone during his second and third seasons as Favre's backup. The first time Rodgers got a legitimate chance to play, he suffered a broken fifth metatarsal bone in his left foot against the Patriots and underwent surgery five days later. Although injured in the third quarter, he nevertheless managed to finish the game. In 2007, Rodgers pulled a hamstring in practice a few days after his first performance of promise (in Dallas) and sat out the next four games. Since succeeding Favre, Rodgers has been on the injury report for five ailments aside from the two concussions. He was listed for six weeks in 2008 with a right shoulder injury but missed just one practice in its entirety. In 2009, he was listed four times with foot problems and another with a rib injury. His chronically sore feet caused him to sit out two practices.
Aaron Rodgers continues Packers' string of QB durability
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | Jul 20