At left, Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews (52) runs down Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Kevin Kolb (4) in the first quarter during Sunday's game at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. / Evan Siegle/Press-Gazette
Clay Matthews was back on the injury report and was limited in practice on Wednesday, but the Green Bay Packers outside linebacker said there’s no reason for concern.
Matthews missed the entire preseason because of a pulled hamstring but returned for last Sunday’s season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles and had one of the best games of his career. Despite some soreness in his hamstring, he says he’s not in jeopardy of missing this week’s game against Buffalo.
“We’re taking the necessary precautions that are associated with taking five weeks off and then coming back and playing a full game,” Matthews said. “Obviously, I’m a little sore, but it’s nothing big.”
From a statistical standpoint, Matthews’ performance against the Eagles got even better on Wednesday, when the league announced it had credited Matthews with a third sack. The scoring change came from the second-quarter play in which Matthews chased down Kevin Kolb from behind and knocked the ball loose, causing a fumble that went out of bounds. Initially, it was scored as a rush for 1 yard but instead was changed to a sack for zero. Matthews knocked Kolb out of the game with a concussion on that play.
It was the first three-sack game of Matthews’ pro career.
“I’m pumped about that,” Matthews said. “My first one.”
Matthews now leads the NFL in sacks after one week. Two other players, Philadelphia’s Juqua Parker and the New York Giants’ Mathias Kiwanuka, had two-sack games in Week 1.
The change came too late to boost Matthews’ case for NFC defensive player of the week, an award that went to Arizona Cardinals safety Adrian Wilson (who had two interceptions, a sack and a blocked field goal in a win at St. Louis).
Wynn’s happy return: The last thing Packers defensive line coach Mike Trgovac told Jarius Wynn after the Packers cut him on Sept. 4 was not to worry because he wouldn’t be out of work long.
Wynn just didn’t think it would be back in Green Bay. But there he was back on the Packers’ practice field on Wednesday, a day after he was re-signed to replace injured defensive end Justin Harrell.
“He sat me down and told me not to stress about it because somebody’s going to pick me up,” Wynn said.
He thought it would be the Seattle Seahawks, who had him in for a workout last week, but was thrilled to get another chance with the Packers, who drafted him in the sixth round in 2009.
Wynn got off to a slow start in training camp and battled a hip injury. He wanted to show he could play through pain but now believes it might have been better to take some time off.
“I thought I was doing the right thing by trying to push through it,” Wynn said.
Packers coach Mike McCarthy said both Wynn and rookie defensive end C.J. Wilson will play Sunday against Buffalo because of the injuries on the defensive line. Defensive end Mike Neal (side/rib) did not practice on Wednesday, and the Packers might have to limit Cullen Jenkins’ snaps because he will have to play with a club cast on his broken left hand. Jenkins was limited in practice.
Other injuries: Cornerback Charles Woodson did not practice because of the toe injury he sustained in practice on Friday.
Woodson said the toe was sore after playing against the Eagles but thought it would improve with rest.
Linebacker Desmond Bishop (hamstring) also didn’t practice.
Tackle Chad Clifton, who continues to have swelling in his knees, was limited. So was Brandon Underwood, but that’s an upgrade for the cornerback who didn’t play against the Eagles and hadn’t practiced since before he hurt his shoulder in the Aug. 26 preseason game against Indianapolis.
The Bills had five players on their injury report: Linebacker Antonio Coleman (hamstring, full participation), center Geoff Hangartner (ankle, did not participate), safety Cary Harris (hamstring, did not participate), linebacker Paul Posluszny (knee, did not participate) and linebacker Reggie Torbor (chest, full participation).
Not the same: The Packers had precedent to carry halfback Ryan Grant on their roster while he recovered from surgery on his ankle this week.
In 1998, halfback Dorsey Levens had a seemingly similar surgery on his ankle after Week 2, under the care of the team’s current medical staff and with General Manager Ted Thompson in the front office. Levens returned 10 weeks later, in late November, and appeared to be in decent football condition by the playoffs.
But after spending a good part of Monday discussing Grant with the team’s doctor, Thompson and coach Mike McCarthy placed their starting halfback on injured reserve, which means he can’t play this season. In explaining the decision Wednesday, McCarthy, without mentioning Levens by name, strongly suggested that the Packers’ medical staff determined Grant’s comeback will take longer than Levens’.
"You can sit here and say (Grant) would have been ready for the playoffs based on someone else that went through it in the past," McCarthy said. "You look at past injuries, but it’s all about the individual. It’s about the doctor’s opinion of the specific injury. That’s why we made the roster move."
The decision means the Packers’ starting halfback for the rest of the season could be fourth-year pro Brandon Jackson, who will be backed up by fullback John Kuhn and newly signed rookie Dimitri Nance.
Odds and ends: The Packers filled the opening on their practice squad with cornerback Josh Gordy. He replaced linebacker Robert Francois, who was released on Tuesday. Gordy (5-foot-11, 195 pounds) spent most of the preseason with Jacksonville, which signed him as an undrafted rookie out of Central Michigan. … As expected, kicker Mason Crosby was named NFC special teams player of the week after making a franchise-record 56-yard field goal and a 49-yarder against the Eagles.