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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Packers' Clay Matthews already ruled out for first playoff game

By on 12/31/2013 04:00:00 PM

The Green Bay Packers are headed to the playoffs without linebacker Clay Matthews.  Matthews, who has missed a total of five games with a reoccurring thumb injury, has been ruled out for the highly anticipated first round of playoffs.  The Packers play the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday afternoon.  Head coach Mike McCarthy is not rushing Matthews, a four-time Pro Bowl player. 
"I really don't have a feel for Clay as far as where he is. I really haven't even seen him to talk to him," McCarthy said. "You're always cautious with players after surgery. Right now, he's out for this week, and that's really what we're focused on."

Matthews, with a combined 41 tackles and three forced fumbles, first broke his right thumb on October 6th against the Detroit Lions.  He had surgery the next day to insert stabilizing pins and missed four games. When he returned Nov. 10 against the Philadelphia Eagles, he wore a giant club cast that covered his entire right hand, but the next week, he wore a much smaller cast.  Matthews injured the same thumb on December 22nd on a sack to quarterback Ben Roethlisberger during a 38-31 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.  He is leading the Packers with 7.5 sacks this year. 

Typically, when the Packers rule out a player this early in the week, it indicates a heightened level of severity regarding the injury. In other words, Matthews probably isn't anywhere close to a return.
"Obviously he's not happy," Packers outside linebackers coach Kevin Greene said. "He's not a happy camper. I mean, he's a professional; he understands that's the nature of the game. It's a bad luck deal."
The Green Bay Packers (8-7-1) host the San Francisco 49ers (12-4) on Sunday afternoon at 4:40 pm EST at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin. 


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