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Rodgers can return to Packers on Saturday

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) smiles on the bench before playing the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. (Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)

Rob Reischel

The Sports Xchange

GREEN BAY — Quarterback Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers is eligible to begin practicing on Saturday. Rodgers sustained a broken collarbone on Oct. 8, underwent surgery Oct. 19 and was placed on the injured reserve list Oct. 20.

Rodgers can’t play in a game until Week 15, when the Packers travel to Carolina. But he could begin practicing with his team at the end of the week.

“We have no decisions for you today,” Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said. “There’s a step-by-step process. I have nothing to give you today, you know.

“There’s a plan laid out for Aaron, just like the other guys on IR. He’s knocking it out of the park, he’s going at it 120 miles an hour. We’ll see what the end of the week brings.”

Coaching decision

Green Bay held a 21-14 third-quarter lead when it drove to the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 39-yard line.

McCarthy could have elected to punt, try pinning the Steelers deep, and put his defense in a favorable position. Instead, McCarthy called for a 57-yard Mason Crosby field-goal attempt that wasn’t close.

Pittsburgh then used the short field to drive for the game-tying touchdown.

Crosby’s kick would have been the longest ever at Heinz Field. Afterward, though, McCarthy wasn’t second-guessing his decision.

“We knew we needed points,” McCarthy said. “You look at the flow of the game. You look at time of possession. Those are the things you’re thinking about all through the course of the game. How long has your defense been on the field? That’s the right decision.”

NOTES: OL Jason Spriggs started at right tackle instead of Justin McCray. Spriggs allowed three of the Packers’ six hurries, but seemed to have one of the better showings of his young Green Bay career. Spriggs, a second-round draft pick in 2016, has been an enormous disappointment, to date, struggling mightily in his limited opportunities on the field. But the Packers know McCray’s future is on the interior of the offensive line, and they clearly decided to see if Spriggs would sink or swim in just his third career start. ... CB Davon House’s return to Green Bay hasn’t gone the way anyone in the Packers’ organization had hoped. House has battled injury and inconsistency, and played one of his poorer games of the year Sunday. House was targeted seven times and allowed five receptions for 87 yards and a touchdown. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had a 153.0 passer rating when he threw at House.