Aaron Rodgers has been "medically cleared to return" to action after missing seven games with a broken right collarbone, the Green Bay Packers quarterback himself announced on Instagram on Tuesday night.
Rodgers was hurt during a loss to Minnesota on Oct. 15 and had surgery four days later. He returned to practice on Dec. 2 and is eligible to rejoin the 53-man roster on Friday, which means the two-time MVP could suit up for Green Bay's game at Carolina on Sunday.
"It's been a long road … but I'm happy to say I've been medically cleared to return," Rodgers wrote. "Thanks for all the love, support, prayers and well wishes over the past 8 weeks and a big thank you to Dr. [Pat] McKenzie and our incredible training staff."
The Packers (7-6) likely need to win their final three games to make the playoffs.
Rodgers had his collarbone scanned on Monday morning. That afternoon, with the team in the middle of game-planning for Carolina, coach Mike McCarthy wasn't sure whether Rodgers or backup Brett Hundley would be his quarterback.
"I'd like to know as soon as possible," McCarthy said. "Frankly, it's best for Aaron to know as soon as possible. He's the one that has to get ready and, obviously, in his mind he's ready to go if you watch him practice and the conversations with him. But this is a medical decision and Dr. McKenzie is in touch with a number of different medical experts and they're evaluating the information."
Those meetings ran deep into Tuesday before a conclusion was reached.
The Packers were 4-2 in Rodgers' six starts, including the Minnesota game, in which he was hurt on the second possession on a hit by Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr.
• The Packers said former kicker Ryan Longwell and offensive tackle Mark Tauscher would be inducted into the team's Hall of Fame. Longwell was the Packers' all-time scoring leader with 1,054 career points until he was surpassed by place-kicker Mason Crosby in 2015. Longwell signed with Green Bay as a free agent in 1997 and also played for the Vikings and Seahawks before retiring as a Packer in 2013.
Network suspends three
Hall of Fame player Marshall Faulk and two other NFL Network analysts, Ike Taylor and Heath Evans, were suspended after a woman who worked as a wardrobe stylist at the network accused them of sexual misconduct in a lawsuit.
Jami Cantor described several sexually inappropriate encounters with the three retired players and others who have worked for NFL Network, according to court documents first reported by Bloomberg.
Former NFL Network executive Eric Weinberger, and former NFL Network analysts Donovan McNabb, Eric Davis and Warren Sapp, another Hall of Fame player, also are named in the lawsuit.
Weinberger is president of the Bill Simmons Media Group and was placed on leave, according to a statement given to the New York Times. McNabb and Davis now work as ESPN radio contributors.
"We are investigating, and McNabb and Davis will not appear on our networks as that investigation proceeds," ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz said Tuesday.
Devin Hester, 35, the spectacular speedster who holds the NFL record for kick return touchdowns with 20, officially announced his retirement. He played for Atlanta, Baltimore — he returned 44 kicks for the Ravens in 2016 — and Seattle, but his best years were with the Bears from 2006-13.