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Tough to predict how Aaron Rodgers' calf will hold up

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- If the Green Bay Packers had concerns about Aaron Rodgers' strained left calf going into the regular-season finale against the Detroit Lions 10 days ago, then their anxiety isn't likely to be lessened between now and Sunday’s NFC divisional playoff game against the Dallas Cowboys.

Even though Rodgers said Tuesday on his ESPN Milwaukee radio show that he's not worried about the possibility of a recurrence, the Packers probably are. Such is the nature of soft-tissue injuries.

"They will not know for sure regardless of how he is," said ESPN injury analyst Stephania Bell, a physical therapist who is a board-certified orthopedic clinical specialist and a certified strength and conditioning specialist. "Even if you're completely asymptomatic and even if you go through all the motions in practice and you're fine, you're never able to replicate what you’re doing across 60 minutes in a game.

"Until you test it, until you are in the activity, have gotten through it and then looked back and said, 'Hey I made it through without aggravating it,' do you know that you could do that."

Rodgers was expected to be examined Wednesday morning by team physician Dr. Pat McKenzie, and then the Packers will decide how much -- if at all -- Rodgers will practice this week.

Rodgers first sustained the injury in Week 16 against Tampa Bay. At that time, it was a medial gastrocnemius strain, which is on the inside of the muscle. He was limited in practice the following week and then strained it again but that time on the lateral, or outside, part of the muscle against the Lions, forcing him to come out of the game for two series.

"Even if he has a little discomfort, that doesn't necessarily mean he wouldn't get through the game and be just fine," Bell said. "And vice versa. He could be completely symptom-free, be feeling fine and move just so in the game and it could flare up. There's really not any good way to tell unfortunately."