Achilles injuries are supposed to cost an athlete a full year. Just don’t tell that to Aaron Rodgers.
Days after tearing his Achilles on Monday night just four plays into his New York Jets debut, the four-time NFL MVP was left in a dark place.
“It was the toughest 24 hours of my life,” Rodgers said on the Pat McAfee show Friday afternoon. “A lot of sadness, a lot of tears.”
Rodgers underwent surgery on his injury Wednesday and is expected to make a full recovery. While most doctors believe a typical recovery time for an Achilles injury is 9-12 months, the Jets quarterback isn’t ruling out anything, including a potential return in 2023.
“As Kevin Garnett once said, Anything’s possible.”
Still, it’s unlikely that Rodgers is expected back for the Jets at any point in 2023. The Jets placed him on Injured Reserve shortly after his surgery but also expect the quarterback to return to the team at some point during his rehab process in the regular season.
It also helps that Rodgers has given his clearest indication yet that he will return in 2024 and not retire as many have predicted.
“Give me the doubts. Give me the timetables. Give me all the things you think can, should, or will happen because all I need is that 1 little extra percent of inspiration. Give me your prognostications. And then watch what I do,” Rodgers said.
At 40 years old, the recovery for the quarterback will be a long and drawn-out process. Rodgers accepts that, but the eccentric passer believes that he could be on the field sooner rather than later.
“Just because somebody hasn’t done it a certain way, doesn’t mean it’s not possible. What I’ve already put together is a pretty damn good rehab plan that’ll shock some people.”
New York’s offensive captain has chosen to leave those rehab plans “close to the chest” but many people who know Rodgers understand that the quarterback is not going to go quietly into the night as he recovers from this injury.
“Whenever Aaron has his mind set on something, good luck for anyone that wants to change his mind,” Jets offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett said following the quarterback’s injury.
The Jets will have to move on through the 2023 season with Zach Wilson as their quarterback instead of the future Hall-of-Famer. It may have been sooner than fans, players, and coaches may have wanted to see him following his offseason reset, but the Jets, and especially Rodgers are more than content behind their new starter.
“I’m very confident in him. I hoped he could’ve had a couple years to sit back and learn but I’m excited for him,” Rodgers explained.
However long it takes for the future Hall-of-Famer to return from his recovery will remain to be seen. Until he comes back, the Jets will be looking to string along starts from their backup quarterback while relying on the talent they have accumulated over the years.
With most of that talent still expected to return in 2024, it will at least give the Jets the small victory to know that they’ll have a championship-caliber team ready for Rodgers when he returns to the football field next season.