Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers took up the cudgels for the team’s medical staff after it was criticized by their former tight end, Martellus Bennett, who was released for failing to disclose an injury. In an earlier Instagram Story post, Bennett said the Packers medically cleared him before signing him to a three-year contract worth $21 million. Bennett also accused Dr. Patrick McKenzie, the Packers team doctor, of urging him to play through the injury, which was later disclosed by Ian Rapoport of NFL Network Insider as a torn rotator cuff.

When Bennett informed the team of his plan to undergo surgery, based on recommendations of three doctors, the Packers released him for allegedly failing to disclose a medical condition. Bennett disputed the claim, saying the Packers were aware of his health condition. One day after he was released by the Packers, Bennett was claimed by the New England Patriots, where he won a Super Bowl ring last season.

Rodgers defends Dr. McKenzie

In an Instagram post, Rodgers defended Dr. McKenzie, whom he has known for 13 years, calling him a phenomenal doctor and close friend. The injured quarterback said Dr. McKenzie performed surgery on him twice, adding that he trusts his opinion “implicitly.” Rodgers also stressed that the team doctor always tried to “protect me and my future," up to the extent that sometimes Dr.

McKenzie prevents him from “myself and my desire to get back on the field before I should.” Rodgers recently underwent successful surgery on his broken collarbone, which was earlier perceived as season-ending. However, there is a chance that Rodgers might be able to throw in six weeks. If that happens, Rodgers can return in Week 15 against the Carolina Panthers on December 17.

Wide receiver Jordy Nelson also defended McKenzie via Twitter, saying in his 10 years with the Packers, he has never felt pressured to play in a game. Nelson said that Dr. McKenzie is very cautious about putting players back on the field with an injury. “He always puts the player’s health before the team,” added Nelson.

Bennett might play through injury

Rapoport said Bennett might try to play through his injury after he was claimed by the Patriots off a waiver. According to Rapoport, Bennett passed his physical Friday and practiced with the team. If the Patriots don't play Bennett, he will be placed on injured reserve, which will officially end his season. In seven games with the Packers this season, the 30-year-old Bennett caught 24 passes for 233 yards. Last season, he tallied 55 receptions for 701 yards and a career-high seven touchdowns with the Patriots.