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(Reuters) - Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers says he will know by Thursday whether he will be cleared medically to play in Sunday's pivotal regular-season finale against the Chicago Bears.
The 30-year-old, a three-time Pro Bowl selection, has missed the last seven games after breaking his left collarbone against the Bears in early November.
Rodgers on Tuesday apologized to his team's fans for keeping them in suspense in recent weeks over whether he had sufficiently recovered to make a competitive comeback.
"We are going through the process of evaluation," Rodgers said on Milwaukee's WAUK-AM 540. "But I can say definitively there will be (on) Thursday, one way or another, there will be a definitive conclusion to this week's unknown."
"I'm feeling better and not thinking about my injury at all. Ultimately it comes down to ... is the bone healed or is there a large risk in going back out there that's too great, that the organization would not want to put me out there?
"Obviously, I want to be out there. I know what's at stake. This is an important week for us. We're somehow back in this position to be able to get into the playoffs. What a better way to do that than against the Chicago Bears?"
The return of Rodgers, the Super Bowl's most valuable player in 2011, would give the Packers (7-7-1) a massive boost as they bid to clinch their third consecutive NFC North title.
Sunday's game in Chicago is a winner-take-all affair that will not only decide the division but also hand the victorious team a berth in the playoffs.
Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes