Jets fans were excited to see Aaron Rodgers in a Jets uniform in the team’s season opener against the Bills.
They may have to wait a long time before seeing him suit up again.
Rodgers was injured just four snaps into his Jets regular-season debut. He had to be helped off the field and was eventually carted into the locker room.
While X-rays on Rodgers’ left ankle were negative, the Jets fear that the veteran quarterback suffered a torn Achilles. He is set to undergo an MRI on Tuesday to assess the severity of the damage.
But if the worst is confirmed, the Jets’ dream offseason will have rapidly turned into a regular-season nightmare.
Here’s what to know about Rodgers’ injury and how long he might be sidelined.
How long is Aaron Rodgers out?
It is expected that the Jets will be without Aaron Rodgers for the rest of the season. Coach Robert Saleh indicated that in his postgame comments about the quarterback’s injury.
“The MRI is probably going to confirm what we think is going to happen, so prayers tonight,” Saleh told reporters. “But it’s not good.”
Saleh went on to say that Zach Wilson would be the starter for the rest of the season if Rodgers suffered a torn Achilles, as the team fears. Coaches tend not to do that unless they are sure that a player will miss the rest of the season.
Now, the question is whether Rodgers, 39, can get back on the field for the start of the 2024 NFL season. That may not be easy given the nature of his injury.
What is Aaron Rodgers’ injury?
The Jets fear that Aaron Rodgers suffered a torn Achilles against the Bills. It occurred on just his fourth snap of the game and he eventually had to be carted to the locker room as a result of the injury.
Torn Achilles recovery time in NFL
The average recovery time for an NFL player returning from a torn Achilles tends to be about 9-12 months. However, it often ends up being closer to an 11-month timeline, as a 2010 study published in Lower Extremity Review outlined.
According to the study, it takes roughly four to six months for the player to get back to full activity after surgery. The extra recovery time is then utilized to strengthen the repaired tendon to get the player closer to full strength before his return to play.
That said, the study noted that players returning from Achilles tears tend to play in considerably fewer games the year following the injury. The 31 players surveyed in the study averaged 11.67 games in the season before the injury compared to 6.17 games after it.
Additionally, 36 percent of the players assessed in the study did not return to NFL action after suffering a torn Achilles. So, that study may paint a bleak picture of Rodgers’ recovery time.
Still, there are some positive examples of athletes returning from that injury faster than expected, with Cam Akers the most notable.
The Rams running back was able to play in Week 18 of the 2021 NFL season just five and a half months after suffering a torn Achilles in preparation for the campaign. His rapid return was thanks, in part, to the surgical treatment he had on the injury, which was designed to optimize recovery time.
That said, it’s worth noting that Akers recorded just 175 yards on 72 carries in Week 18 and the postseason upon his return. That 2.4 yards per carry average fell well below his career average of 4.0 and showcased that, despite his playing, he wasn’t quite ready to be his old self back on the field.
Even if Rodgers can make the same sort of quick recovery that Akers did, it still wouldn’t allow him to return to the field before Super Bowl 58. So, either way, the Jets will have to survive the rest of the 2023 season without Rodgers.
What happened to Aaron Rodgers?
Rodgers suffered an injury in the Jets’ season opener against the Bills when he was trying to escape pressure from pass rusher Leonard Floyd.
Floyd was able to drag Rodgers to the ground as he tried to scramble away from the edge rusher. The play was rather innocuous looking at first, but after trying to get up, the veteran quarterback went back to the ground and called out for the medical staff to look at him.
Aaron Rodgers was injured and helped off the field on the first Jets drive vs. the Bills. pic.twitter.com/vtKHRW566V
— ESPN (@espn) September 12, 2023
Rodgers was helped off the field to the blue medical tent on the sidelines. He then was carted into the locker room to have X-rays while wearing a boot on his injured ankle. The Jets, after initially deeming him questionable to return, ruled him out; and Saleh later told reporters that the team feared Rodgers had suffered a torn Achilles during the play.
Aaron Rodgers injury timeline
Sept. 11: Jets coach Robert Saleh says that the Jets fear Rodgers has suffered a torn Achilles, an injury that would be season-ending.
Sept. 11: Rodgers, after initially being ruled questionable to return against the Bills, is ruled out by the Jets. His X-rays are negative but he is seen wearing a boot heading into the locker room.
Sept. 11: On the fourth snap of his Jets debut, Rodgers is injured. He is helped off the field and eventually is carted into the locker room with an ankle injury.
Sept. 11: Rodgers makes his regular-season debut as the Jets starter in front of the crowd at MetLife Stadium.