'Never doubt Aaron Rodgers': UW Health says it's 'reasonable' to expect a Rodgers comeback

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- All eyes in the football world were on Aaron Rodgers Monday night as the 39-year-old, future Hall of Fame quarterback prepared to start a new chapter in his NFL career, leading the New York Jets against the Buffalo Bills.

Four plays into that new venture, all eyes were on No. 8 for a different reason. Following a sack, Rodgers stood back up before seeming to realize he could no longer continue, laying back down on the turf. He was ruled out for the game and an MRI on Monday confirmed he had torn his Achilles tendon, ending his season after just over a minute.

"I was 90% sure that he had torn his Achilles," explained Dan Enz, a physical therapist and the manager of UW Health's Sports Rehabilitation program.

He says the injury is common for men, particularly Rodgers' age.

"The most common age is 30 to 40 years old to rupture your Achilles tendon," Enz explained. "It's more common in men than it is in women. It's more common in cutting, pivoting, jumping sports so you see a lit in the NBA; obviously in the NFL, there were two of them on the first Sunday."

The Rodgers injury took the wind out of the sails of the Jets fanbase that was hopeful the former Green Bay Packers star would be able to use his talents and wisdom to bring some of the same success he had at Lambeau Field to MetLife Stadium.

While the team still managed to defeat the Bills without Rodgers, his absence was felt.

"Obviously, very unfortunate," said Allen Lazard, who followed Rodgers to the Jets. "That's my dog. That's someone I really care about."

Following the injury, two of Rodgers' former teammates, Kurt Benkert and David Bakhtiari took to social media blaming artificial turf for the injury. Bakhtiari going as far as resharing an article posted by the NFL Players Association in 2020 that cites NFL injury data that shows players have a nearly 30% better chance of suffering a non-contact injury when playing on turf compared to grass.

Enz says in this case, he's not sure it would have made a difference.

"I don't think we can say with certainty that the grass would have prevented it," Enz explained. "The grass gives a little bit more and that can actually lead to certain types of injuries and in this case, it's hard to tell. His cleat was planted and if the grass gave, maybe, but I think with how he was being sacked, I don't necessarily think there would have been a difference from grass versus turf in this specific injury."

One thing that is certain; Rodgers won't be playing again this year. Still, Enz says it's reasonable to expect to see Rodgers strap on a helmet and cleats again next year if he so desires.

"I would never doubt Aaron Rodgers. He's somebody that, he puts his mind to something and he makes it happen," Enz said. "Athletes do a much better job of taking care of their body and nutrition and staying in shape. It's definitely reasonable that he could definitely come back. For sure, it's not going to be this year, but by next year he could come back."

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