Rodgers played against Atlanta on Sunday despite spraining his right shoulder in the previous week's game at Tampa Bay. He played well, but the Packers still lost to the Falcons 27-24.
"He was in a lot of pain," McCarthy said. "For him to go out and throw the ball like he did and to play the way he did, I think, is a tribute to him. He definitely played big in the game."
McCarthy said he discussed Rodgers' injury with team doctor Pat McKenzie and believes Rodgers is "ahead of where we were last week."
But after an off day for the team Tuesday, Rodgers is likely to sit out practice Wednesday and continue rehabbing the injury. He might return to practice Thursday, even if it is on a limited basis.
Rodgers finished Sunday's game 25-for-37 for 313 yards with three touchdowns and nearly led the Packers to a late comeback.
He did make one major mistake, a fourth-quarter interception deep in Packers territory that set up a Falcons touchdown. But McCarthy said coaches gave Rodgers' overall performance high marks.
"We graded him as a winning performance," McCarthy said. "I thought he had an excellent performance with everything he was dealing with. The biggest negative was the interception, throwing across your body late over the middle like that."
"Mike wanted to look into my eyes and see if I wanted to play, and I told him 'I want the ball. I want to be out there,' " Rodgers said. "Then I just knew I was going to have to deal with the pain."
The Packers didn't win, but Rodgers certainly won respect in the locker room.
"He continues to prove the point I've made all along, he's a special guy," said Packers defensive end Aaron Kampman, one of Rodgers' closest friends on the team. "No one knew going into the game whether he was going to play or not, except him and maybe a few other people. Yeah -- a gutsy performance."
Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings was surprised Rodgers played, given the serious nature of the injury.
"From what we know, as far as my knowledge, he should not have played," Jennings said. "I don't think they really wanted him to dress. But he's pleading his case to get out there. You hate to jeopardize the season, but at the same time, when you have a guy who's determined like that, you have to let him go ahead. That lets us know and shows us how much he wants to be out there and lead us. He wants to lead our team. And that's what you need in a quarterback."
Running back Ryan Grant called Rodgers a "true leader."
"I knew it was hard for him," Grant said. "He was in a lot of pain. He needs to be commended for what he did. He was able to fight through that. He put us in position to win the game. He's a true leader. We're going to need that for times like that. We definitely appreciate what he did."