Matthews Out; Packers Could Be Short-Handed

Clay Matthews (Jim O'Connor/USP)

Clay Matthews will miss a third consecutive game, one of six players who have been ruled out. With other injuries, the Packers might be using 44 or 45 players on Sunday against Minnesota. The Vikings' Percy Harvin is doubtful. We have the injury reports and more from Friday.

Clay Matthews will miss a third consecutive game because of his injured hamstring.

Matthews, the team's leader in sacks and its best all-around defender, didn't practice all week, and coach Mike McCarthy on Friday said he "couldn't tell you" if Matthews would be available for next week's game against Detroit.

"He's making progress, he's just not ready to play in the game. He's not ready," McCarthy said.

Dezman Moses, who is tied for second on the team with three sacks, has a sack in each of his two starts and will replace Matthews for a third consecutive week. The Packers collected five sacks without Matthews against Detroit two weeks ago but Moses got the only one for an impotent pass rush last week against the Giants.

"Let's face it now, he's one of the best players in the league," defensive coordinator Dom Capers said of Matthews. "He's, I don't know that he plays the pass any better than he plays the run. He's an explosive player. But, we're going to count on Erik Walden and Dezman Moses. Those guys have to play good for us. And I think they will play good for us."

Packers injury report

Out: LB Clay Matthews (hamstring); TE Andrew Quarless (knee); CB Sam Shields (ankle); RB Johnny White (concussion); DE C.J. Wilson (knee); DB Charles Woodson (collarbone). Doubtful: LB Terrell Manning (shoulder). Questionable: WR Donald Driver (thumb); S Sean Richardson (back). Probable: WR Greg Jennings (abdomen); S M.D. Jennings (rib); T Marshall Newhouse (wrist); DT Ryan Pickett (quad).

McCarthy will have no trouble filling out his six-man inactive list. Matthews is among the six players ruled out. The Packers could be a player or two short. Manning, a rookie who's become a solid player on special teams, was limited all week and was listed as doubtful. Driver didn't practice all week and is questionable.

Vikings injury report

Doubtful: WR Percy Harvin (ankle). Probable: DE Jared Allen (shoulder/back); LB Jasper Brinkley (shoulder); DT Letroy Guion (foot); P Chris Kluwe (left knee); T Phil Loadholt (knee); RB Adrian Peterson (shoulder); TE Kyle Rudolph (concussion/shoulder); S Harrison Smith (concussion); CB Antoine Winfield (knee).

Harvin probably will miss a third consecutive game. Harvin did some drills on Friday but did not participate in practice again, according to The Associated Press. Coach Leslie Frazier said he wasn't sure whether Harvin would travel with the team to Green Bay. He hasn't been at the stadium with the Vikings since Nov. 4 at Seattle, when he suffered the injury. Harvin has been told to stay home and rest the last two Sundays the Vikings have played.

"Harvin's obviously a difference-maker," Capers said. "Harvin's such a multiple guy. He's a running back playing receiver. He played running back in college. And they've used him a lot. You've got to be ready for him to do both. You've seen here of late, (Adrian) Peterson having the kind of year he's having. It doesn't make any difference. The focus is still on him. You've got to get him on the ground."

Four-point stance

-- Greg Jennings' snap count will be determined by the flow of the game and how Jennings feels in his first game in about three months. "I think Greg looks good," McCarthy said. "He's going through some of the bumps that you have when you come back for the first week of practice. But he's got a spring in his step, he's ready to go."

-- With Wilson out, Capers said he needs "big games" from Ryan Pickett and B.J. Raji, and Mike Neal, Mike Daniels and Jerel Worthy must show they can be stout against the run if the Packers are going to stop Peterson. "This is my fourth year with Pick, and you just get confidence," Capers said. "He's a really good run player, good technique run player. He's going to be where he's supposed to be, he's going to do his job, and he's consistent. That's what you're always looking for – a guy that's consistent and accountable. You know you can count on him going in."

-- Jerron McMillian is appealing the $21,000 fine he received for what the NFL deemed a helmet-to-helmet hit on Giants tight end Martellus Bennett. "I don't think he can do anything differently," safeties coach Darren Perry said. "I don't know if they expected him to pull up, but we try to tell our guys to play fast, play within the rules and we're not looking to injure anybody. I thought his target was fine, it was in the chest area. So, the big thing I tell him is to not let things like that slow you down. I think as long as we're playing the game fast and not doing anything to intentionally go after someone's head or neck area, then we're fine. The big thing is you don't want something like that to slow your guys down because there's a fine line between guys making great catches and guys pulling up. I don't think you tell him much in that situation other than, stay off the head and neck area."

-- Coming off a Sunday night game and with another Sunday night game coming up next week, McCarthy trimmed 17 minutes from practice.


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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 packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.

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