Linebacker Clay Matthews and cornerback Charles Woodson have been limited in practice all week, and both have officially been listed as questionable for Sunday's regular season finale against the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field on New Year's Day.
However, their questionable status probably has more to do with the fact they're two of the most valuable and irreplaceable players on the team than it is a reflection of the severity of their injuries.
Matthews is listed as having an ankle injury and Woodson with a knee. The two have dealt with a variety of minor injuries all year long, but none severe enough to keep them out of a single game this season.
Their injuries are probably more niggling than nagging, and given the meaningless nature of the game with no playoff implications for the Packers, the coaching staff is more than likely giving their elite defenders a built-in excuse as a means of keeping them healthy for the postseason.
Not that head coach Mike McCarthy would come right out and say it.
"I think that just being smart with them throughout this week was the right thing to do," McCarthy said at his Friday press conference. "Talking to (head athletic trainer) Pepper (Burris) and (team physician Dr. Pat) McKenzie, and talking to both Charles and Clay, so we'll see how they are, and see how they are in the morning."
Keeping star players inactive isn't without precedent in the McCarthy era in Green Bay.
In the regular season finale in 2007 when the Packers hosted the Lions with a first-round bye already locked up, a cadre of current and future Pro Bowlers were on the Week 17 inactive list including Woodson, wide receivers Donald Driver and Greg Jennings and defensive lineman Aaron Kampman.
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