Dynamite might come in smaller packages.
That’s the hope of Clay Matthews, who made almost no impact wearing a huge club-cast to protect his surgically repaired right big thumb against Philadelphia last week.
Matthews expects to wear a “general fiberglass cast” that will leave his fingers free to clutch and grab on Sunday at the New York Giants.
“You know, it’s funny because you think you can play with a club -- and then my first time playing with a club -- there’s something about it, which, it’s kind of like a cat cut its whiskers off. It just loses its balance,” Matthews said on Thursday. “I’ve never done that before, but I’ve heard that’s what happens. That’s how I felt. So, you have to overcome that. I’m hoping with my fingers back, I’ll be like a feline who got his whiskers back and then I’ll be able to be more spry out there.”
Matthews hopes the downsized cast will make a “great difference” after finishing with just two tackles against the Eagles.
“It’s human nature to try and baby injuries that you have and, obviously, I think that was clearly evident,” Matthews said. “At the same time, when push comes to shove and there’s a runner in my face or something which requires two hands, you throw it in there and try and do the best you can. I attempted it, but it was hard watching that film.”
Despite his limited impact, Matthews said he had no regrets playing less than a week after the pins were removed from the thumb. He’ll be needed against the Giants merely from a personnel standpoint. With Nick Perry (foot/ankle) and Mike Neal (abdomen) sidelined and Andy Mulumba (ankle) limited, the Packers are down to Matthews and Nate Palmer.
“As a competitor, you want to be out there,” Matthews said. “Obviously, I never want to be a hindrance on this defense, and I would never be out there if that was the case. Obviously, it didn’t look pretty at times, but I felt, for the most part, I did my job and I did what they asked. It was difficult, but you have to make due some times, and this whole sport and why we’re here is pushing through boundaries that you thought you couldn’t. But aside from playing, it’s great to get the reps back underneath your belt, seeing game situations and also becoming more comfortable with an injury. As with any injury, it’s always best to get back out there and get live reps.”
Packers injury report
Did not participate: T Don Barclay (knee), CB Casey Hayward (hamstring), DT Johnny Jolly (groin), DE/OLB Mike Neal (abdomen), OLB Nick Perry (foot/ankle), QB Aaron Rodgers (collarbone). Limited: C Evan Dietrich-Smith (knee), OLB Andy Mulumba (ankle), DT Ryan Pickett (knee). Full: OLB Clay Matthews (thumb).
The Packers’ report was unchanged from Wednesday. Coach Mike McCarthy said Hayward is out “multiple weeks” again with his hamstring. Perry will be “challenged” to play this week.
“You talk about a young man that everybody and, probably most importantly Casey himself, was looking forward to a big year,” McCarthy said. “You see the way he played as a rookie. And history tells you players really take a jump in their second year. It hurt to hurt his hamstring the Monday before training camp. It was obviously a very significant injury when he did it the first time, and then he did it again in the preseason. To lose a whole year I know is frustrating for him.”
Giants injury report
Did not participate: DE Jason Pierre-Paul (shoulder), CB Corey Webster (groin/ankle). Limited: RB Brandon Jacobs (hamstring/knee), TE Bear Pascoe (ankle), CB Terrell Thomas (knee).
-- McCarthy was hoping Barclay would practice on Thursday with the arrival of a knee brace but that didn’t happen. “Don’s just going through the rehab part of it,” McCarthy said. “He didn't probably feel as good today as we had hoped. So, we’ll see how he is tomorrow. I’m going to give him chance, the full week to try and give it a go.”
-- Receiver James Jones, on the urgency this week: “We're not angry and desperate, man. We're just grinding, we're just grinding man. We need a win, we're trying to get a win. We're trying to win them all, I mean we're preparing well this week. The Giants that we know, the Giants in the past has given us their best shot, and we're going to go in there again, they're going to give us another shot, and we've got to get us a win, no matter what.”
-- Quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo, on Scott Tolzien’s debut: “I think he did a nice job managing the game, getting guys in and out of the huddle. And really for not getting a ton reps in our offenses, putting the ball where it needed to go. Obviously we want to take care of the ball a little bit better, and score some more points in the red zone. But I like his week of preparation so far.”
-- The Packers have fallen to 25/1 to win the Super Bowl after being 14/1 last week, according to online bookmaker Bovada. Detroit, for the first time, is the better choice to win the Super Bowl at 20/1. Detroit is 1/2 to win the NFC North while Green Bay is 3/1 and Chicago 7/2.
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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 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.