Green Bay Packers OLB Clay Matthews doesn't practice all week, still listed as 'probable' for Sunday

Oct. 7, 2011

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Green Bay Packers' Clay Matthews, right, pressures Denver Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton which led to a sack by Desmond Bishop during the third quarter of the game at Lambeau Field on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2011. / File/Press-Gazette


The quadriceps injury Clay Matthews has been dealing with the last three weeks isn’t getting any better.

It may be getting worse.

After practicing one day each of the last two weeks — on Friday last week and on Thursday the previous week — Matthews didn’t get on the field at all in preparation for Sunday’s game at Atlanta.

His status hasn’t changed. He was listed as probable on Friday for Sunday’s game at Atlanta, but it’s clear Matthews isn’t quite right. The third-year outside linebacker has only one sack this season, although the coaches maintain he’s making game-changing plays in other ways, especially against the run.

The injury is believed to have occurred in the Week 2 game at Carolina, although Matthews wouldn’t say last week whether his injury is a pulled muscle or a bruise as the result of a hit. Whatever the case, the Packers’ medical staff this week changed their course of treatment, according to coach Mike McCarthy.

“Clay Matthews’ medical situation is based on the treatment that he’s receiving early in the week,” McCarthy said. “With the treatment, it’s best that he not practice. That was the decision made by the medical staff. It was a conversation we had Tuesday morning. We’re on a different routine than we had last week.”

McCarthy didn’t reveal the nature of the treatment, but it’s possible Matthews began a series of injections. When players take shots, they’re often unable to do anything for a couple of days but then are fine for game day.

“He may have to do it for a couple of weeks,” McCarthy said. “It’s the long-term vision.”

It’s the third straight season Matthews has been slowed by an injury that has caused him to miss significant practice time. He had a serious hamstring problem in 2009 and last season dealt with a shin injury that was later revealed a stress fracture in his lower leg. However, in his two-plus seasons, he has missed only one game.

“I’m hoping that Clay’s intelligence and instincts and football ability will take over Sunday night because we need Clay to play well for us,” defensive coordinator Dom Capers said. “On the injury stuff, I don’t spend any time on that because I know it’s wasted time. We’ll expect him to go out there and play like Clay plays. That’s all I can tell you. We need him to go out there and play like he plays. We went through two months last year of him practicing once a week.”

No go: Neither right tackle Bryan Bulaga (knee) nor linebacker Frank Zombo (scapula) was cleared to play against the Falcons after meeting with team physician Dr. Pat McKenzie on Friday morning.

That means Marshall Newhouse will make his second straight start in Bulaga’s place, and the Packers will have to wait another week to see if Zombo can boost their pass rush.

McCarthy said Bulaga claims he feels fine and is ready to go.

“Dr. McKenzie’s got to deal with Dr. Bulaga on that one, and that’s not going very well,” McCarthy said. “He’s champing at the bit to get out there.”

“There’s protocol,” McCarthy added. “There’s injuries that have happened in the past compared to his injury. We’re always going to do what’s in the best interest of the player. I’m just kidding as far as Bryan and Dr. McKenzie. Bryan wants to play. He feels he’s ready to go, but Pat is concerned. Until that comes together, Bryan will not be on the field. I think Bryan definitely has a chance next week.”

Last Sunday against Denver, Newhouse made his first career start and gave up two sacks to Broncos rookie Von Miller. This Sunday, he could see a lot of Falcons defensive end John Abraham. However, Abraham, the Falcons’ best pass rusher, was added to the injury report on Friday with a hip injury and was listed as questionable.

Packers tight end Andrew Quarless (knee) was listed as doubtful after missing the entire week of practice, and linebacker Brad Jones (hamstring) was questionable. Jones was limited in practice Wednesday and Thursday but couldn’t go Friday.

Damage control: Former Packers quarterback Brett Favre said the comments he made in a Tuesday radio interview about current Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers were misinterpreted.

Perhaps in an effort to do some damage control, Favre spoke with USA TODAY and clarified his comments.

Among other things, Favre in his interview with an Atlanta radio station said he was surprised Rodgers “didn’t do it sooner” when referencing the Packers’ Super Bowl victory in Rodgers third season as a starter last year. He also said Rodgers “fell into” a great situation.

Favre said the reaction to his comments caught him by surprise.

“It’s very (infrequent) when I do interviews,” Favre told USA TODAY. “I was very gracious and complimentary of the Packers and Aaron Rodgers.”

Odds and ends: A brief power outage in the area around Lambeau Field forced the Packers to alter their practice. “We were practicing inside The (Don) Hutson Center,” McCarthy said. “The lights went out right before the last team period, the defensive segment of the team period. So we went outside. We did lose the video (taping of practice), but it was fine.” … The Packers haven’t placed injured safety Nick Collins (neck) on injured reserve but plan to do so when they have a roster need. “We have a couple of areas we’re potentially stretched on,” McCarthy said. “We want to see how some of the guys — Frank Zombo, Bryan Bulaga — come back from injury. That’s really what we’ve been kind of holding on to it for. There’s a couple of different ways we can go with it. We’re just being very cautious with people at a couple positions.”

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