Orthopedic surgeon offers opinion on Rodgers' injury

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy announced on Thursday, December 26th that Aaron Rodgers would be the team's starting quarterback this Sunday against the Chicago Bears, but when asked if Rodgers was "medically cleared," McCarthy got a bit feisty.

It may be something fans never know, but FOX6 spoke with an orthopedic surgeon about the possible risks involved with Rodgers' return.

"The swelling from the injury itself is most likely gone, but the healed part of the bone called the callous is probably there helping to protect the collarbone," said Eric Pifel.

Pifel hasn't treated Rodgers and doesn't work for the Packers, but the orthopedic surgeon often deals with the same type of injury.

"There is much more concern on every single hit of the football game," said Pifel. "Football is all about collision -- the name of the game is striking someone else. When you have someone recovering, you're watching every nuance of the hit, the fall, the land and how they react when they get up."

Experts say Rodgers' collarbone fracture is an injury that takes six to eight weeks to heal, but may require up to six months for the bone to fully recover.

Pifel says doctors will be watching every hit during this weekend's match-up and the key for Rodgers' recovery is to be honest about his pain moving forward.

"He sounds like a tough guy," Pifel said. "I think he'll be alright."

If Rodgers were to get reinjured, it could take double or even triple the time for him to recover. Pifel says the biggest risk is an injury severe enough to require surgery.

Another factor adding concern is the temperature. If the field is frozen over, it could increase the chances for injury.