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Wearing knee brace, Rodgers returns for Packers

September 16, 2018
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Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers scrambles during the second half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers was sore. It wasn’t just his left knee that hurt.

His mobility limited while wearing a brace on his injured knee, the star quarterback for the Green Bay Packers said he got punched in the eye during a sack. He absorbed a couple other shots, too.

Once the game started Sunday, the adrenaline kicked in. The ending was kind of a downer for the two-time NFL MVP.

Rodgers was 30 of 42 for 281 yards and a touchdown, but the Packers played to a 29-29 draw with the Minnesota Vikings after giving up a 13-point lead in the fourth quarter.

“Close to an ‘L.’ It doesn’t feel great,” Rodgers said about the tie.

A week after Rodgers threw three touchdown passes in the fourth quarter to rally the Packers to a victory over Chicago, the Vikings nearly pulled off the same feat at Lambeau Field.

Rodgers got hurt in the second quarter against the Bears before returning in the second half. Rodgers focused on rehabbing his knee this week before going through the Packers’ light practice on Saturday.

He was listed as questionable for the Vikings game, though Minnesota fully expected him to play.

“But he’s amazing, the things he can throw, the things he sees. I still think they should trade him,” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer joked.

Rodgers played well given his injury. He was sacked four times, though the protection held up relatively well especially early in the game.

While he didn’t have his typical mobility that allows him to buy time for receivers, he was able to move around enough to scramble out of trouble on occasion. Operating out of shotgun or pistol formations also bought Rodgers more time.

Rodgers said he felt well enough as the game wore on to be able to try some other things.

“I told (coach Mike McCarthy) in the fourth quarter I was feeling good,” Rodgers said.

The Packers (1-0-1), though, could have used more touchdowns from the offense. Mason Crosby matched a career high with five field goals but missed a 52-yarder as time expired in regulation.

A mishandled handoff to running back Jamaal Williams with 5:17 left in overtime also cost the Packers a chance at another long field-goal attempt. Rodgers recovered the fumble on second-and-1 at the 37, and he was sacked on third down to push Green Bay back to the 47.

It was the last time that the Packers would have the ball.

“I’m disappointed about my last two plays,” Rodgers said.

The quarterback isn’t sure whether he might follow a similar practice plan ahead of next week’s game against the Washington Redskins, though he said he expect to play each week. He’s not sure if the injury could linger all season.

“He felt good and wanted to practice Saturday. He took pretty much all of the offensive reps. We pretty much evaluated him today when he came in,” McCarthy said. “As you can see, he had a heck of a football game.”

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