GREEN BAY -- Head Coach Mike McCarty said Packers QB Aaron Rodgers could begin a "trial return" to practice on Saturday.
"He’s got a workout today, and we'll obviously evaluate him," McCarthy said on Friday. "We’re looking tomorrow to potentially practice him in a trial return. That’s the outlook. We’ll determine that tomorrow after his work today."
Saturday would be the first day Rodgers is eligible to practice, based on the rules regarding a return from injured reserve. Rodgers was placed on IR Oct. 20 following his collarbone surgery. He is not eligible to play in a game until Week 15 at Carolina, but getting him back at practice would be no small thing for the morale and spirits of the team.
"Absolutely. I think it’s a big deal when you see your leader out there, definitely," McCarthy said. "The guys have been watching him work here the last couple weeks. You also have to be in tune with the trial return mode...but it would be great to have him out there."
Elsewhere on the injury front, McCarthy ruled out RB Ty Montgomery (ribs/wrist) and rookie CB Kevin King (shoulder) for Sunday's game vs. Tampa Bay.
Signs look positive for rookie RB Aaron Jones (knee), who has practiced on a limited basis this week after missing two games, but McCarthy said he wants to see more.
"I thought Aaron Jones looked good yesterday, but today’s evaluation will be important for him," McCarthy said. "Hopefully he can progress to some more work in tomorrow’s practice. He definitely took a step forward."
As the calendar turns to December, McCarthy stressed the Packers need to start playing their best football. The team has been up and down since Rodgers' injury and has lost three straight home games. The forecast is for mild weather Sunday as the 5-6 Packers look to get back to .500 and build from there.
"We need to play above our game and play above the standard we've played to, to this point," McCarthy said.