Clay Matthews, the Green Bay Packers’ star outside linebacker, has been ruled out for Sunday’s game against Tennessee.
This will mark the third consecutive game and fourth time this season that Matthews has been sidelined with a hamstring injury. He was hopeful of playing last week against Indianapolis but suffered a setback on the Friday before that game. The hamstring didn’t improve enough this week to even get him on the practice field. Coach Mike McCarthy was hopeful that Matthews would practice on Thursday but that didn’t happen, making Friday’s announcement more of an expectation than a surprise.
“No,” McCarthy said on Friday when asked if the injury was a long-term concern. “Making progress, just won’t be available this week.”
Matthews didn't miss any games in 2014 and 2015 and had played in at least 15 of 16 regular-season games in five of his first seven seasons.
McCarthy was more optimistic about running back James Starks and tight end Jared Cook. Starks has missed the last four games following knee surgery. His return would give the Packers the veteran presence they’ve lacked in the backfield since Eddie Lacy went down against Dallas on Oct. 16.
Based on McCarthy’s comments, Starks seems more likely to play than Cook. And that's how it panned out on the injury report, with Starks questionable and Cook doubtful.
“I saw (Starks) briefly this morning,” McCarthy said. “He feels good, so we’ll see what the day brings us. They’re definitely making progress. James is very close, and we’ll see how Jared is come Saturday.”
Cornerback Damarious Randall, who has missed the last three games following groin surgery, returned to practice on Thursday but joins Matthews and center J.C. Tretter as the three players ruled out.
“My week went great,” Randall said on Friday. “I’m just happy to be back out there with my team and get my gear back on. It had been close to about a month, so I’m happy to be back out there with my cleats on, with my team and having fun.”
Receiver Randall Cobb, who didn’t play in the first half vs. Indianapolis and had missed the previous week at Atlanta because of an injured hamstring, will be back in full-time duty.
All of which should mean a more difficult inactives list for McCarthy to produce on Sunday at Tennessee. Last week, five of the seven inactives were injured. The week before at Atlanta, all seven inactives were injured. In fact, there have been at least five injured inactives in each of the past four weeks.
“It’ll be better than last week. That’s an improvement,” McCarthy said. “Yeah, we’re getting healthier and that’s important but, frankly, the focus is on the preparation, finalizing the preparation for the Titans. We’ll do that today with the classroom environment and the STAA program and have a good practice tomorrow and get on the plane. I feel good about where we are so far.”
Tennessee is the picture of health. The only player given a status designation was linebacker Aaron Wallace, who is questionable.
|WR Randall Cobb||Hamstring||Limited||Limited||Limited||--|
|TE Jared Cook||Ankle||Limited||Limited||Limited||Doubtful|
|DT Letroy Guion||Not injury related||DNP||Full||Full||--|
|DB Micah Hyde||Shoulder||Limited||Limited||Limited||Questionable|
|G T.J. Lang||Hip||DNP||Limited||Limited||--|
|OLB Clay Matthews||Hamstring||DNP||DNP||DNP||Out|
|CB Damarious Randall||Groin||DNP||Limited||Limited||Out|
|CB Quinten Rollins||Groin||Limited||Limited||Limited||--|
|RB James Starks||Knee||Limited||Limited||Limited||Questionable|
|C J.C. Tretter||Knee||DNP||DNP||DNP||Out|
|OT Jack Conklin||Elbow||Limited||Limited||Full||--|
|RB Derrick Henry||Calf||DNP||DNP||Full||--|
|S Rashad Johnson||Neck||Full||Full||Full||--|
|RB DeMarco Murray||Foot||DNP||Limited||Full||--|
|G Quinton Spain||Knee||Full||Full||Full||--|
|TE Delanie Walker||Groin||Full||Full||Full||--|
|LB Aaron Wallace||Shoulder||Full||Full||Full||Questionable|
Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PackerReport.