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Report: Aaron Rodgers targeting December 24 return from torn Achilles injury

The Jets QB thinks he can defy the odds and make a return sooner than later from his torn Achilles tendon.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers #8 of the New York Jets on the sidelines during a football game against the Miami Dolphins at MetLife Stadium on November 24, 2023 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

The New York Jets are seeing their season circle the dream, but they could theoretically get a big boost in the final weeks of the season. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers tore his Achilles tendon in Week 1 and he is now aiming for a December 24th return to action.

Ian Rapoport is reporting “there is a chance” that he could practice as soon as Week 13 and he is targeting Christmas Eve to return. He will need to provide a “doctor’s note” and show he can protect himself, but he’s trying to return in the same season.

This would appear to mark the first in-season return from a torn Achilles, but not the first in the same calendar year. In 2021, then Los Angeles Rams running back Cam Akers tore his Achilles on July 20. He underwent SpeedBridge surgery, which was then a brand new technique that could speed up return to weightbearing and thus a faster rehab process. Akers returned in Week 18, and while he did not look particularly explosive in his return, it did allow for the return.

Here’s a description of the process courtesy of Arthrex.com and the Journal of Foot and Ankle Surgery.

The Arthrex SpeedBridge repair is an innovative soft-tissue fixation device used in the treatment of Achilles injuries. While standard anchor fixation of the tendon creates only a single point of compression directly over the anchor, the SpeedBridge repair enables an hourglass pattern of FiberTape® suture to be laid over the distal end of the tendon. This 4-anchor construct enables a true knotless repair and a greater area of compression for the Achilles tendon on the calcaneus, improving stability such that immediate postoperative weightbearing and range of motion is possible.

Rodgers underwent the same SpeedBridge surgery, but is targeting an even tighter turnaround. He tore his Achilles in Week 1 and is targeting a Week 16 return. If it actually happens, that would cover a mere 3.5 months, which would be two months sooner than Akers. They play different positions, but the lower body is still critical to the QB position.

We have yet to see much in the way of pushback from doctors or anybody of note on social media. It’s entirely possible Rodgers makes it back this season, but we should all probably pump the brakes on this. I’m sure Rodgers wants to return and the Jets would love to see him back on the field. We’ll likely hear about his IR practice window getting activated at some point, but until we hear he has been fully cleared and activated off IR, it’s worth taking a conservative approach to this news.