Well, this is unfortunate. Aaron Rodgers' New York Jets stint came to an abrupt end during the first drive of the game when he went down with an injury. Rodgers crumpled to the ground after being sacked, and he was unable to get up. Rodgers was taken out of the game and was eventually carted off and ruled out for the game.
The visuals of the Aaron Rodgers injury had many Jets fans thinking it might be an Achilles injury. An MRI to Rodgers' leg after their win confirmed their fears of a completely torn Achilles tendon. Let's look at the history of Achilles injuries in the NFL to see when Aaron Rodgers could be back.
Achilles injuries in the NFL
The Achilles tendon is a tendon that connects the calf muscle to the heel bone. The injury that Aaron Rodgers suffered was a tear of his Achilles tendon. A close-up video of the moment clearly shows the Jets QB's calf muscle rippled after his foot hit the ground. That's often a sign that the tendon snapped, with the force sending a shockwave throughout the muscle.
Achilles tears are known in the sporting world as one of the most career-altering injuries. Sports such as basketball or football rely on a lot of movement. Achilles tears and the surgery to fix them often hurt a player's mobility permanently. There's also the matter of rehab. Rehabbing an Achilles tear can be grueling, and it takes a huge toll on a player's psyche.
With the Jets now knowing that it's a full tear of the Achilles tendon for Aaron Rodgers, the only question is whether Rodgers will return this season. A full tear (or a rupture) is obviously worse, but both cases lead to the same general result: Rodgers will be out for the season.
How long do Achilles injuries take to heal?
For athletes, Achilles tears often necessitate surgery. While it's possible to treat Achilles tears without surgery, the risk of reinjuring said tendon is much higher. Once the diagnosis confirms an Achilles tear, Rodgers will go under the knife. He'll miss the rest of the Jets' season, given the history of this injury.
The common timetable for a return from Achilles injuries across all sports is around 10 to 12 months. That includes the recovery time after the surgery and the rehab to strengthen the newly repaired tendon. There's a particularly unique case of a player returning in half the time: Cam Akers returned to the Rams just six months after tearing his Achilles. Still, that's a rare case that should be treated as an exception, not as a rule.
The Jets are no strangers to Achilles injuries. During the 2021 season, then-Jacksonville Jaguars running back James Robinson suffered an Achilles tear against New York, ending his season. Robinson was able to return to the field eventually, getting traded to the Jets after Breece Hall's ACL injury. It was clear during his time in the Big Apple that Robinson wasn't the same threat he was during his rookie season.
There's hope for a player to return from Achilles injuries to their previous form. Former Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas and legendary LB Terrell Suggs returned from their Achilles tears in peak form. In the NBA, Kevin Durant is still playing at a high level despite an Achilles tear. However, considering Rodgers' age and the wear on his body, a full recovery seems unlikely. It's also worth noting that all three players showed a significant difference in their style of play after their injuries.
In any case, any progress from Rodgers will be seen in the 2024 season. Barring a miraculous (and possibly reckless) event happening, the Jets QB should be out for the entire year.