Aaron Rodgers not expected to play

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- A day after Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy put quarterback Aaron Rodgers' chances of playing on Thursday against the Detroit Lions at "slim to none," he amended that.

And it moved toward to the latter, even though Rodgers returned to the practice field for the first time since he broke his collarbone Nov. 4.

"Closer to none," McCarthy said of Rodgers' chances.

Officially, Rodgers was listed as a limited participant in Tuesday's practice, which was a brief session that lasted a little more than an hour. He took part in only the individual drills, while Matt Flynn handled the bulk of the snaps.

"I felt like I was back on the team today," Rodgers said on his weekly radio show. "I felt like I was an actual football player. It was fun. It was fun to be back out there with the guys. It was a walkthrough-tempo type of practice so I felt that was something I could manage. It's good to put my helmet back on and feel like I was part of the team.

"I ran around and did a couple things. But nothing exciting. But it was good to be back out there with the guys. Like I've said, I haven't had any pain throwing. The issues -- which people probably don't understand, they think, 'Oh, he has no pain, why doesn't he play?' -- it's not that simple. There's obviously risk-management and then here's the flexibility and the strength, which are two other components of this injury that have to be where I want them to be in order to play. The flexibility and the strength have been the last to come and we'll go from there."

McCarthy would not go so far as to name Flynn the starter, but he said Flynn took "starter reps."

"All I've been told is I was going to take the reps as if I was going to be the starter," Flynn said.

McCarthy shortened the workout because the Packers played five full quarters in Sunday's tie against the Minnesota Vikings. Rodgers wore the traditional red quarterback jersey and a helmet. Players were not in pads.

"He had a good day," McCarthy said. "This was a big day actually for him as far as throwing and doing some of the things, the targets that the training staff wanted to hit with him. They definitely hit it. So he feels good, but I don't think he's going to make it this week."

Still, the Packers did not officially rule out Rodgers on the injury report.

"I would be surprised [if Rodgers played]," receiver Jordy Nelson said. "There's nothing wrong with being surprised, though."

If McCarthy turns the offense over to Flynn, he would be the third starting quarterback the Packers have used since Rodgers' injury. Flynn replaced Scott Tolzien, who had replaced Seneca Wallace.

McCarthy pulled the struggling Tolzien in the third quarter against the Vikings, and Flynn helped rally the Packers from a 16-point, fourth-quarter deficit and into overtime less than two weeks after he re-signed with the Packers.

"I'm very comfortable," said Flynn, who was the Packers' backup from 2008 to 2011. "I feel good with the playbook. I feel good with the game plan. I feel ready to go."