Aaron Rodgers Plans To Return Sooner Than Expected

Kansas City Chiefs v New York Jets

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New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers is aiming to return from an Achilles injury sooner than expected.

Rodgers, 39, who suffered an expected season-ending Achilles tear in Week 1, told NBC Sports' Melissa Stark that "his goal is to play again this season."

"His plan is to rejoin the team permanently after their Week 7 bye and he told me his goal is to play again this season," Stark said during the live 'Sunday Night Football' broadcast of the Jets game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Rodgers was seen using crutches in public for the first time since his season-ending Achilles surgery in photos exclusively obtained by the New York Post on Thursday (September 29). The photos were reportedly taken after Rodgers completed a four-hour workout in Los Angeles.

The four-time MVP was seen wearing a compression sleeve on his left leg. Rodgers made his first public post-surgery appearance on the Pat McAfee Show last month and addressed his outlook for recovery.

"I think what I'd like to say is 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 one little extra percent of inspiration," Rodgers said. "That's all I need. Give me your doubts, give me your prognostications and then watch what I do."

Rodgers had previously shared a heartfelt Instagram post addressing his season-ending injury.

"Thank you to every person that has reached out, called, texted, DM’d, connected through a friend, etc. It has meant a ton to me, and I’ll try and get back to all of you soon 🥹❤️," Rodgers wrote. "I’m completely heartbroken and moving through all of the emotions, but deeply touched and humbled by the support and love. 💔 Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers as I begin the healing process today. 🙏 ♾️ ❤️

"The night is darkest before the dawn. And I shall rise yet again.

"Proud of my guys, 1-0 🛩️ #"

Jets head coach Robert Saleh told reports that Rodgers was feared to have suffered an Achilles injury and "it's not good," prior to undergoing an MRI on September 12. The four-time NFL MVP was replaced by former No. 2 overall pick Zach Wilson, who head coach Robert Saleh confirmed will take over as the team's starting quarterback if necessary moving forward.

Rodgers was carted off the field and brought into the Jets' locker room and seen wearing a boot on his foot after exiting the team's X-ray room, which NFL Network's Ian Rapoport said was "an indication his night is over." Monday Night Football play-by-play man Joe Buck had initially said Rodgers was reported to have suffered an ankle injury and his status was "questionable" prior to officially being ruled out.

In May, the Athletic's Dianna Russini, then working for ESPN, reported that Rodgers appeared to suffer a potential injury during the Jets' OTAs session and was seen "favoring his ankle." The Jets acquired Rodgers in a blockbuster trade with the Green Bay Packers, with whom the quarterback had spent the entirety of his 18-year NFL career.

Rodgers leads all Packers quarterbacks with 475 touchdowns and ranks second in franchise history behind only Favre in QB wins (147), completions (5,001) and passing yards (7,660).

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