Clay Matthews is out but Greg Jennings may be in when the Green Bay Packers face the New York Giants in a battle of NFC powers on Sunday night.
Matthews will miss a second consecutive game with an injured hamstring. He didn’t practice all week and the team is taking a cautious approach so its best defensive player is ready to go for the stretch run.
Jennings, who hasn’t played since exiting in the first half against New Orleans on Sept. 30, practiced in limited fashion all week after having surgery on a core muscle injury on Nov. 1. During the portion of Friday’s practice that was open to reporters, he accelerated away from a defensive back to make a nice fingertip catch on a seam route.
“He feels really good coming off of practice yesterday along with work today,” coach Mike McCarthy said after Friday’s practice. “I said we’d sit down tomorrow and talk to Dr. McKenzie to see how he’s feels. The one concern is durability so that’s the last hurdle that we feel we need to get over.”
Packers injury report
Out: LB Terrell Manning (shoulder); LB Clay Matthews (hamstring); CB Sam Shields (ankle); DB Charles Woodson (collarbone). WR Greg Jennings (abdomen); TE Andrew Quarless (knee). Probable: WR Donald Driver (thumb); FB John Kuhn (hamstring); DT B.J. Raji (ankle); LB Vic So’oto (illness); LB Erik Walden (ankle).
Giants injury report
Out: WR Domenik Hixon (ankle); LB Jacquian Williams (knee). Questionable: S Kenny Phillips (knee); LB Keith Rivers (calf/ankle). Probable: C David Baas (ankle/elbow); RB Ahmad Bradshaw (foot); DT Linval Joseph (knee); S Tyler Sash (ankle); G Chris Snee (ankle).
Bradshaw, the team’s leading rusher with 675 yards, was limited on Friday after being held out, like usual, on Wednesday and Thursday.
-- A decision on Derek Sherrod, who remains on the physically unable to perform list because of a broken leg sustained late last season at Kansas City, is due before Wednesday’s practice. The Packers either have to add him to the 53-man roster or put him on injured reserve. Sherrod said he’s taken part only in individual drills. We’ll have more on Sherrod later.
-- The Packers will use a similar rotation at outside linebacker as last week, with Erik Walden being the every-down player and Dezman Moses starting for Matthews and sharing some reps with Frank Zombo. “He’s going to progressively get better,” position coach Kevin Greene said of Zombo. “My plan is to get him and Moses back into the same kind of rotation and getting them both some reps and letting them play and have fun.”
-- The defense has survived just fine with Brad Jones starting at inside linebacker for D.J. Smith (who had replaced Desmond Bishop). “Brad Jones is a heck of a football player,” McCarthy said. “He really has been his whole time here. Frankly, it’s something that I challenged the special teams (with) on Wednesday morning in the team meeting. Since Brad Jones has been playing exclusively on defense, we lost a little bit of an edge (on special teams).”
-- The Packers are 15/2 favorites to win the Super Bowl, according to Bovada.lv. Houston is 5-1, followed by New England and Denver at 11/2 and San Francisco at 13/2.
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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 email@example.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.