Aaron Rodgers wanted the best when he had surgery on his Achilles tendon, so he did a little research before deciding on a doctor.
“When I was sitting on the table in the locker room after I came off the field on September 11, I immediately Google searched ‘Kobe Bryant,’” Rodgers, 40, explained during the Thursday Night Football broadcast on December 28. “Kobe’s a favorite of probably most of ours, and I actually didn’t realize that Neal [ElAttrache] had done his surgery. So, the next thing I did was text Neal and say ‘Hey, I’m going to come see you.’”
ElAttrache, an orthopedic surgeon based in Los Angeles, repaired Bryant’s torn Achilles tendon in 2013. The late basketball icon was back on the court eight months later and continued playing through the 2015-2016. (Bryant died in a helicopter crash in January 2020 at age 41.)
“Neal is a fantastic doctor, not just his incredible skill, but his bedside manner and the way he takes care of his patients and keeps in touch with them. He’s an incredible human being,” Rodgers continued. “He did a great surgery on me. And from the start I basically said, ‘Listen, I know what the normal protocols are, I know I’ve got Father Time working against me, but let’s start and cut everything in half and see what we can do with that.’ He did a surgery that kind of allows the patient to get on their feet a little quicker … so I was up and moving around quicker than usual.”
Rodgers injured his Achilles tendon during his first game with the New York Jets on September 11. Since undergoing surgery that same month, he has been seen practicing with the team and walking on the sidelines during games.
While Rodgers will sit out the rest of the 2023 season, he recently said he plans to return to football in the new year. When asked whether this NFL season will be his “last dance” on “The Pat McAfee Show” earlier this month, Rodgers replied, “I don’t think so.”
He went on to say he’s developed “a renewed passion and love for the game” since he was traded to the Jets earlier this year after 18 seasons with the Green Bay Packers. “Everything has been amazing here, just the people I’ve gotten to work with, the relationships I’ve gotten to form with my teammates, and the amazing men and women that work here,” he added, noting that he has every intention of coming back in 2024 — and beyond.
“I don’t think next year will be my last year,” he said. “With some of the things that I’ve learned over the last year and taking care of my body and surrounding myself with some great people who’ve been helping me with my nutrition and my functional training at a more acute level, I feel like I can play more years and I can be effective into my 40s, which is crazy because I thought that I’d probably be sitting on a couch somewhere at 40. But now, I want to be a starter at 40, I want to be a starter at 41, I want to see what I can get out of this body.”