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Lions downplay Rodgers' injury in NFC North race

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News
Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers rides a cart into the locker room after being injured during the first quarter.

New Orleans — While the Lions battled the New Orleans Saints, more than 1,200 miles away there was a seismic shift in the NFC North race when Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers suffered a broken collarbone.

The injury, to his throwing shoulder, could sideline Rodgers the rest of the season.

The news didn’t reach the Lions’ locker room until after the loss to the Saints, when the media brought word.

“I did not know that,” quarterback Matthew Stafford said. “Injuries are tough.”

Rookie linebacker Jarrad Davis offered a similar, muted reaction when asked what Rodgers’ injury might mean for the Lions.

“I honestly know what to say about that,” Davis said. “That’s a tough loss for them, though.”

After suffering an exhausting 52-38 loss to the Saints, some Lions weren’t in the mood to hear about another team or player’s woes.

Cornerback Nevin Lawson, already annoyed with losing to the Saints, was agitated when asked about what Rodgers’ injury means for the division race.

“It changes nothing, man,” he said. “We just played a game. I ain’t worried about no damn Aaron Rodgers. I don’t give a (expletive) about Aaron Rodgers.

Rodgers had been off to a strong start prior to the injury, completing 66.7 percent of his passes for 1,367 yards, 13 touchdowns and three interceptions. The Packers were 4-1 and sitting alone atop the division.

With Rodgers out, the Packers’ offense struggled in a 23-10 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. Backup Brett Hundley came in and completed 18-of-33 passes for 157 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions.

Rodgers’ injury is reminiscent of 2013, when he missed seven games with a broken collarbone, but returned for the final game of the season and led the Packers to a win and the NFC North crown.

The Lions play the Packers in three weeks, in Green Bay, on Monday Night Football. The two teams also close the season in Detroit on New Year’s Eve.