Clay Matthews Encouraged by Shoulder’s Progress

Starting linebackers Jake Ryan and Julius Peppers returned to practice. However, cornerback Damarious Randall and inside linebacker Blake Martinez were extremely limited on Thursday.

Clay Matthews and Jake Ryan returned to practice for the Green Bay Packers on Thursday, but the team's injury situation didn’t get appreciably brighter.

Matthews (shoulder) watched the opening jog-through period of plays, didn’t take part in a tackling drill and took one rep during a ball-stripping drill while reporters were present. However, that’s actually more than coach Mike McCarthy anticipated on Wednesday, when he Matthews wouldn’t practice on Wednesday or Thursday.

“It definitely has really progressed a lot more than last week,” Matthews said. “Last week, I was just trying to get range of motion back. I didn’t anticipate to lose that much strength in that shoulder. But, yeah, it’s a lot better than where we were at last week, so hopefully that’s a positive indicator moving forward.”

Matthews, who was injured on the opening series at Philadelphia, played 29 snaps against Houston last week. He didn't record a tackle but had no regrets about persuading the coaches into letting him play.

“It was my decision to go out last weekend,” Matthews said. “Last week, we didn’t put on pads, being a short week, so I was really encouraged with getting the range of motion back. But after the first three plays, it wasn’t where I was at, so we stuck with just coming in on passing situations where,, hopefully I could at least do something. But even in that role, I was still limited. (But) I didn’t set myself back, which I think was a positive coming out of the game. I don’t think I lost any momentum moving forward.”

Ryan (ankle) had a significant workload after not practicing on Wednesday. On Thursday evening, special teams coordinator Ron Zook says Ryan was close to 100 percent.

“Just the plan,”  McCarthy said before practice. “Everybody’s workload, specifically the players on the medical report, there’s a workload plan as far as how they start practice, how they’re integrated. I think Jake will do a little more today.”

Also back in action was outside linebacker Julius Peppers. He was given Wednesday off in hopes of keeping his 36-year-old legs fresh for the final push to the season.

"We were going with a pitch count or however you want to express it earlier in the season," McCarthy said. "Because of a number of different factors, Julius is playing more. Frankly, I did not let him practice Wednesday because he’s old-school that way. He likes being out there and doesn’t like to miss practice. That will really be our path every Wednesday from here on out."

Cornerback LaDarius Gunter (illness) and outside linebackers Kyler Fackrell (hamstring) and Nick Perry (hand) did not practice. Fackrell did some running on the side after missing the last two games. Perry has been ruled out for the game.

Cornerback Damarious Randall watched most of the jog-through period and didn’t participate in a lengthy individual-skills period. After missing five games following groin surgery, he played 96.6 percent of the snaps at Philadelphia and 72.7 percent against Houston.

Inside linebacker Blake Martinez, who has missed the last two games with a knee injury, did “a bunch” at practice on Wednesday, McCarthy said. However, after taking a rep in a tackling drill, Martinez dropped out of the drill and didn’t do anything else of note while reporters were present.

Injured offensive linemen T.J. Lang (foot) and J.C. Tretter (knee) took part in some individual drills.

Kyler Fackrell, LB Hamstring DNP DNP
Letroy Guion, DT Shoulder Limited Limited
LaDarius Gunter, CB Illness DNP DNP
T.J. Lang, G Foot Limited Limited
Blake Martinez, LB Knee Limited Limited
Clay Matthews, LB Shoulder DNP Limited
Julius Peppers, LB Not Injury Related DNP Limited
Nick Perry, LB Hand DNP DNP
Damarious Randall, CB Groin Limited Limited
Aaron Rodgers, QB Hamstring Limited Limited
Jake Ryan, LB Ankle Limited Limited
JC Tretter, C/G Knee Limited Limited
Michael Bennett, DE Knee Full Full
Brock Coyle, LB Foot Limited Limited
Jimmy Graham, TE Not Injury Related DNP Full
Damontre Moore, DE Foot DNP Full
Mike Morgan, LB Hip DNP Limited
C.J. Prosise, RB Shoulder DNP DNP
Paul Richardson, WR Hamstring Limited Limited
Ahtyba Rubin, DT Not Injury Related DNP Full
Will Tukuafu, FB Concussion DNP DNP
Brandon Williams, TE Knee Limited Full
Luke Willson, TE Knee Full Full

Bill Huber is publisher of and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at

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