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GREEN BAY — As long as Aaron Rodgers’ fractured pinkie toe holds up — and the Green Bay Packers quarterback said Tuesday that it’s healing nicely and he’s hopeful he’ll continue to avoid surgery — then the team’s maneuvering at the position will simply be a case of prepare for the worst, hope for the best.

Nevertheless, with Rodgers’ primary backup, 2020 first-round pick Jordan Love, having landed on the team’s reserve/COVID-19 list on Monday, the Packers made two quarterback moves to ensure they had in-case-of-emergency options entering Sunday night’s game against the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field: They elevated No. 3 quarterback Kurt Benkert from the practice squad to the active roster as a COVID-19 replacement, and they signed well-traveled quarterback Danny Etling to the practice squad.

Rodgers is set to start against the Bears, even as he continues to deal with the toe injury, which happened while he was working out on his own during his 10-day quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19 on Nov. 3. Rodgers missed that week’s loss to the Kansas City Chiefs but has started each of the Packers’ last three games, even as his practice time was virtually nil because he wasn’t allowed in the facility before the team’s Nov. 14 win over the Seattle Seahawks, he hardly practiced before a Nov. 21 loss to the Minnesota Vikings and he didn’t practice at all before the team’s pre-bye win over the Los Angeles Rams.

Making his weekly appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show,” Rodgers confirmed that he sought a second opinion on his toe injury in Los Angeles over the weekend—reportedly seeing Dr. Neal S. ElAttrache at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic — but that he will hold off on surgery as long as he doesn’t reinjure his toe.

“If things were to progress or get much worse, (surgery) would be something to (prevent) further damage,” Rodgers told McAfee, adding that “there was nothing really revolutionary” about the second opinion he received and that any surgery would be to “put a pin in to prevent any further displacement of the fracture” and immobilize the toe.

“I think any decision that’s made would be one that allows me to play. I’m not going to miss any games. I’ve obviously played with much bigger injuries, different parts of my body. And although it’s a small pinkie toe, it’s definitely painful and creates some issues. But I’m not going to miss any games because of it.”

Since returning from the COVID-19 list, Rodgers has completed 74 of 115 passes (64.4%) for 984 yards with four touchdowns and one interception (105.1 passer rating) while also running six times for 29 yards and a touchdown.

“The biggest key is rest. I wish there was another one of these (bye) weeks to get 14 to 21 great days without doing anything,” Rodgers said. “But the toe is improving and we’ll see how it feels later in the week.”

Asked how missing so much practice has affected his play, Rodgers replied, “I’m not going to disparage practice and say that it’s not important. I think it is important. I think there’s things to be talked out and figured out during the week by practicing and taking those reps. At the same time, I’m old enough, I’ve been in this league long enough, I’ve played enough games where I can still go out and perform at a really high level without practicing.”

Packers head coach Matt LaFleur has also downplayed any concerns he has about Rodgers not practicing, saying he is confident that the communication among the coaches, Rodgers and the rest of the offensive players has been effective enough to keep Rodgers’ practice absences from being problematic.

“I still think it's a process, and we'll see where he's at this week,” LaFleur said on Monday. “Hopefully we can get him out there at practice, but if not, we've got a lot of confidence in just his ability to go out there and play at a high level.”

If Rodgers does continue to sit out practice, Benkert would be in line to run the No. 1 offense while Rodgers observes practice with Love sidelined. Benkert has been with the Packers since May, when he attended the post-draft rookie minicamp on a tryout basis and earned a roster spot.

“I know my role, I know my spot. And for me, it’s just bringing value whatever way I can,” Benkert said during the preseason. “I may not have to touch the field this year — that’s awesome, and I’ll follow 12’s lead and all that. But if I have to play, I’ll be ready and I’ll show that I can do what I can do. But that’s way out of my hands. I’m just here to bring value to everybody else and have a good time in the room.”

Meanwhile, the 27-year-old Etling, who entered the league with the New England Patriots as a seventh-round pick (No. 219 overall) in the 2018 NFL Draft, has made a lot of stops in his college and pro careers but, like Benkert, has yet to see action in a regular-season game.

The 6-foot-3, 222-pound Etling started his college career at Purdue before transferring to LSU, where he started in 2016 and ’17 and led the Tigers to back-to-back Citrus Bowl appearances. In the NFL, he has spent time on practice squads with four different teams (the Patriots, Atlanta Falcons, Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos) and was in camp with the Minnesota Vikings this summer. He spent three days on the Broncos’ practice squad last month while Drew Lock was on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

Extra points

Rodgers told McAfee he and the Packers are still hoping for five-time All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari, who has yet to play this season while coming back from last year’s season-ending knee injury suffered during a New Year’s Eve practice, will play this season. “I don’t think he’s coming back this week. I don’t think that’s going to happen,” Rodgers said. “But you never know.” Responded Bakhtiari on Twitter, “This has to be some sort of HIPAA violation, right?” … The Packers honored running back Aaron Jones as their nominee for the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. The award recognizes an NFL player for outstanding community service activities off the field, as well as excellence on the field, and Jones has been active in community events since joining the team in 2017. He has volunteered for military-related causes to support veterans and active service members, as well as the Boys & Girls Club, the Vince Lombardi Cancer Foundation, and the My Cause My Cleats campaign.

Photos: Packers' 2021 season in pictures

Check out photo galleries from every game of 2021 from the preseason through the end of the regular season and the playoffs.

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This article originally ran on madison.com.

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