If the Green Bay Packers are going to slow down Detroit’s high-powered passing attack on Sunday, they’ll have to do it without Clay Matthews.
Matthews, who is tied for fourth in the league with nine sacks, was ruled out by coach Mike McCarthy on Wednesday.
“I know Clay is not going to be available this week and we'll see what next week brings us,” McCarthy said. “He was diagnosed as couple weeks away and this will be his second week. We’ll see what happens next week.”
This will be the second game Matthews has missed due to injury since entering the league in 2009. He missed one game in 2010 with an injured shin.
"He has rushed very well this year," Lions coach Jim Schwartz told reporters in Detroit. "I don’t want to say a down year, but statistically, a little bit of a down year last year. He’s made plays all over the field. Sacks, tackles for loss, really putting the offense behind the chains a lot of times."
There were a few bits of good news on the injury front.
Jordy Nelson “looked like his old self,” McCarthy said. Nelson missed the Week 8 game against Jacksonville with an injured hamstring and turned an ankle on the second series against Arizona in Week 9.
Jerel Worthy, who said he never missed a game in high school or college, is back from a concussion. His interior pass rush will be needed to help off-set the loss of Matthews.
“Going home and sitting in the house every day is kind of boring, but I had to do the necessary things to get back,” Worthy said.
Finally, while Charles Woodson and Greg Jennings won’t play on Sunday, they are improving.
“I had a chance to watch Charles Woodson yesterday in the weight room. He’s a lot closer than I think any of us thought he would be at this time,” McCarthy said. “Greg Jennings, his workouts are going very well.”
Packers injury report
Out: DB Charles Woodson (collarbone); LB Clay Matthews (hamstring); WR Greg Jennings (abdomen). Did not participate: DE Mike Neal (ankle). Limited: WR Donald Driver (thumb); FB John Kuhn (hamstring); LB Terrell Manning (shoulder); WR Jordy Nelson (hamstring/foot); TE Andrew Quarless (knee); CB Sam Shields (ankle). Full: T T.J. Lang (elbow/wrist); TE D.J. Williams (hamstring); DE Jerel Worthy (concussion).
“Mike's battling through the same thing, the ankle injury had going into the Arizona game,” McCarthy said Neal. “It’s bothering him. Hopefully, we’ll be able to get some work out of him this week and he’ll be ready for Detroit.”
Lions injury report
Did not participate: DE Cliff Avril (back/concussion); S Erik Coleman (eye); S Louis Delmas (knee); CB Chris Houston (ankle); WR Calvin Johnson (knee); S Amari Spievey (concussion); DT Corey Williams (knee). Limited: K Jason Hanson (left foot); LB Ashlee Palmer (chest); WR Titus Young (knee).
Avril leads the team in sacks with 4.5, Delmas, Coleman and Spievey are the top three safeties and Houston’s the top cornerback.
-- For those of you who are on pins and needles about whether Aaron Rodgers is engaged, the quarterback shed no light on the subject during his weekly chit-chat with reporters at his locker. “My personal life is my personal life. It’s always going to stay that way and I will not comment on it,” he said.
-- Rodgers is fourth among all players in Pro Bowl balloting. Rodgers, fullback John Kuhn, center Jeff Saturday, outside linebacker Clay Matthews, safety Charles Woodson and punter Tim Masthay lead their positions in the NFC.
-- McCarthy, on the team feeling fresh after the bye: “I thought it was evident Monday. I thought they had good energy. I think they were a bit surprised we were outside today. But they had good energy again today. It was good to be out on the grass. But I agree with ya, the bye week definitely helped our football team. We're definitely a lot fresher this Wednesday going into the Detroit game than we were going into the Arizona game.”
-- New left guard Evan Dietrich-Smith says his experience from last year, which began with him jumping in at tackle at Detroit, has him prepared to be the starter for the rest of this season. “Oh, a lot more confident. I firmly believe my experience from last year is going to benefit me this year. You get to figure out the game speed, how things go, how Aaron runs the huddle, how we get in and out, how we fly around -- basically how it's done. You see how it's supposed to look and I think that's the biggest thing that's going to help me going forward.”
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.