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Clay Matthews Takes Baby Step in Return from Hamstring Injury

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Clay Matthews Takes Baby Step in Return from Hamstring Injury

Packers linebacker Clay Matthews. Photo by Corey Behnke of

Reports coming out from Packers practice on Wednesday were that linebacker Clay Matthews was not participating, obviously a disappointment given that he's the best Packers defensive player.

Reporters are only allowed to watch a small portion of each Packers practice, however. So when the team issued its daily injury report later in the afternoon, Matthews was listed as a limited participant.

"I think Clay's getting better," said head coach Mike McCarthy. "He's made a lot of progress since coming off the field in Cincinnati. But I'm hopeful that he'll be able to do more tomorrow. That's the plan."

Matthews was originally hurt in the Packers last game in Week 3 against the Bengals, missing the entire second half of the ball game.

After the game, Matthews expressed optimism that he would not miss a lengthy amount of time. He missed four full games and part of another last season with a hamstring pull, an almost annual occurrence for the outside linebacker.

Despite having an entire week off for the bye, Matthews was withheld from practice on Monday, but he appears to have made sufficient progress over the past 48 hours to take part in practice at least in some capacity.

It will be telling how much Matthews is able to take part in the Packers' practice sessions on Thursday and Friday as they get prepared for this upcoming weekend's game against the Detroit Lions.

If Matthews isn't available on Sunday, the Packers would have to rely on a heavier dose of Mike Neal and Nick Perry at the position. The two have been rotating in certain packages through the first three games of the season.

"I think what we're doing with Mike Neal is we're doing the right thing for him, and it's really helped us defensively," said McCarthy. "I refer to it as an 'Elephant' position. It's not the traditional 'Elephant' position, but the ability to move as an interior lineman, defensive end and outside linebacker, so he's playing three different positions. I think it's utilizing Mike's skills, and I'm very happy with how he's performed. You could really see it from the first day. He was excited about the opportunity."

The bye week has generally helped all the players with hamstring issues on the Packers roster.

Morgan Burnett, John Kuhn and Jarrett Bush, all of whom missed the Packers' previous game with hamstring pulls of their own, were able to be full participants in Wednesday's practice.

Only Casey Hayward remains sidelined by the hamstring injury he aggravated in the preseason. McCarthy would not give a timeline for Hayward's return.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (14) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Tarynfor12's picture

"..the Packers would have to rely on a heavier dose of Mike Neal and Nick Perry at the position"....


TommyG's picture

Must've been a placebo because those two guys haven't done much this year.

Longshanks's picture

I am so effin tired of this same crap with Matthews year after year. When will this guy ever play a full season without hearing the word "hamstring". Might as well just face the fact he's going to miss 2 to 4 games this year.

Brian Carriveau's picture

You are aware that even though Matthews had hamstring issues his first three years in the NFL, he only missed one game due to injury? Last year was the only instance of missing an extended period of time.

TommyG's picture

They pulled him early, and he kept his pads on until the end of the game, which tells me he was hurting but not badly. My guess is that they'll work him lightly in practice to see how he feels. If he is good to go in practice he'll start and then play all game or until the pain returns.

Mr.Bigg's picture

The hamstring injury to Hayward is taking more than 10 weeks to heal. Wow. In a grade one and two hamstring pull/tear there is a lingering weakness in the hamstring area. Those are the muscles tat allow you to explode through your legs.

Grade 3 is a complete tear and surgery is needed. That is a year recovery time.

jack in jersey city's picture

i have a bad feeling that he won't play at all this season. i hope i'm wrong though

TommyG's picture

Has anyone heard anything about which 'grade' he appearantly has?

C's picture

None of the NFL clubs release that information. They lose a competitive edge with opponents on a week-to-week basis. Because of the ambiquity related to Matthews status the Lions will need to game plan as if he's there and all their installs this week will reflect that.

TommyG's picture

That makes sense with pre-game strategy; especially with CM.

packsmack25's picture

The hell's an ambiquity?

Edit: Oh, you meant ambiguity. Didn't mean to call out a typo.

jeremy's picture

Is that the hell's possessive? ;)

jake state farm's picture

Very interesting

Lucky953's picture

Can somebody just knock Stafford on his butt a few times? I don't care if he's named Mathews or not. Just give stafford some pain please.

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