MINNEAPOLIS (AP)- Green Bay Packers star quarterback Aaron Rodgers could miss the remainder of the season with a broken collarbone.
Rodgers left the game against Minnesota in the first quarter on Sunday, and the Packers announced at halftime that his season is in jeopardy after the injury was diagnosed.
“There is a chance he could miss the remainder of the season,” the Packers tweeted.
It’s a crushing blow to a team that entered the season with Super Bowl aspirations, optimism based primarily on the right arm of Rodgers.
Despite several key injuries to the secondary, the Packers entered the game Sunday against their NFC North rivals at 4-1 after Rodgers engineered a game-winning touchdown drive to beat the Dallas Cowboys last week.
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer’s defense has always gotten after Rodgers in these tense matchups, and it happened again in the first quarter when linebacker Anthony Barr drove him into the turf after he got rid of a roll-out pass.
The impact did not appear to be that violent at first glance as Rodgers rolled through the hit. But it became apparent quickly that he was in considerable pain. He writhed on the turf as Packers coach Mike McCarthy argued for a roughing the passer penalty.
As Rodgers walked gingerly to the sideline, he turned to jaw at Barr before entering a tent on the sideline for examination.
Eventually he rode a cart to the locker room for further tests and remained there throughout the first half. He was initially deemed questionable, but the Packers announced after halftime that he would not return to the game.
He was 2 of 4 for 18 yards before leaving, casting a pall over the rivalry that always includes thousands of Packers fans in Minnesota’s stadium.
Brett Hundley, the only other quarterback on the Packers roster, stepped in for Rodgers.
A Packers offense without Rodgers under center is not something Green Bay has seen very often. Hundley entered the game having thrown 11 career passes, all coming in the fourth quarters of mop-up duty.
Since becoming the full-time starter in 2008, Rodgers has been remarkably durable. He missed seven games in 2013 with a fractured collarbone, but he has started 132 of the other 134 games during that time period.
Of course, being able to count on a quarterback to take the snaps is nothing new for Green Bay. Since Brett Favre took over for the injured Don Majkowski in the third game of the 1992 season, the Packers have had Favre and Rodgers for all but nine games.
Matt Flynn, Scott Tolzien and Seneca Wallace were forced to fill in while Rodgers was out in 2013. Flynn started once in 2010 when Rodgers sat out with a concussion and again in 2011 when he rested during the regular-season finale with the Packers having clinched the top seed in the NFC playoffs.
Favre never sat at all.
“I hope (at)AaronRodgers12 is OK!” Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman tweeted. “The league is better when he’s healthy. Praying for you.”
Hundley’s first pass of the game was intercepted by Xavier Rhodes, but he recovered later in the second quarter and was able to step up in the pocket and hit a wide open Davante Adams for a touchdown that tied the game at 7.
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