GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Aaron Rodgers' advice for anyone undergoing surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament is simple: If you have a choice, take an ACL from a cadaver as the replacement for your own.
Who knows? It might even make you faster.
That's the route that Rodgers, the Green Bay Packers' two-time NFL MVP quarterback, took when he finally had his ACL repaired after playing with a torn one throughout high school, junior college and into his time at the University of California.
Appearing this week on HBO's "Any Given Wednesday," Rodgers was asked by host Bill Simmons what he would recommend for ACL surgery. Rodgers claimed, with a smile, that the ACL he received from a donor actually helped him shave roughly three-tenths of a second off his 40-yard dash time.
"In his life, he was a fast SOB," Rodgers said of the donor. "I went under the knife, I was a 4.95 40 guy. I came out, I ran 4.66 at the combine a year later."
Rodgers played with a tear in his left ACL during his junior and senior seasons at Pleasant Valley High School in Chico, California, wearing a knee brace to protect it. He then played one season at Butte College and another at Cal while refusing to wear the brace, before finally having his ACL replaced after the 2003 season.
After surgery in January 2004, Rodgers returned to have a standout junior season at Cal and was in the conversation to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 NFL draft before falling to the Packers at No. 24.
Rodgers, whose surgery was performed by surgeon George Thabit of Redwood City, California, chose to have an allograft, in which tissue from a donor or a cadaver is used. The technique is less common than autografts, in which tissue is taken from elsewhere in a person's own body. ACL reconstructions frequently use pieces of a person's patellar tendon or hamstring tendons as replacement tissue for the ACL.
Rodgers had surgery on his left knee after the Packers' season-ending playoff loss at Arizona on Jan. 16. He called the surgery "minor" and acknowledged that it did have something to do with the ACL tear he had suffered more than a decade earlier.
In the HBO interview, Rodgers joked he'll never be able to thank the donor for helping his football career.
"But I'm sending my energy out into the universe," Rodgers said, "thanking my man for that beautiful ACL you donated to me."