All signs are pointing toward outside Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews playing Sunday after missing four games because of a broken thumb, though he might not play full-time as he adjusts to playing with a large padded cast on his right hand.
Matthews took part in Wednesday’s jog-through practice and then Thursday’s normal practice, though the workout wasn’t in pads.
“You know obviously it's going to be coach's decision, but you know, I'd like to be out there,” Matthews said after practice on Thursday. “As to what extent, I don't know. So I'm just trying to get ready to help out in any way which I can.”
Matthews to a large degree will be playing without his right hand, because he can’t grip or use the fingers of his right hand in any way while wearing the club. He’s using practice to acclimate to the cast and trying to find the best club configuration for him.
He said his thumb is so well protected he has no concerns about opponents targeting it.
“It’d probably hurt them more than it’d hurt me,” Matthews said. “No, I’m not worried about it. I’m worried about the fact that in certain situations I need to be able to hold the edge or fit in a gap, and with one arm, it’s hard to do that. I need to be more comfortable throwing it in there, and I will, and it has continued to progress. Hopefully by the time Sunday rolls around it will be as if playing with two hands, just one is clubbed up.”
Sunday also will mark the first time Matthews and his brother Casey will play against each other in the NFL. Casey is a linebacker for the Philadelphia Eagles. Clay Matthews said he will have a lot of family attending the game.
“My mom has already asked for a photo opportunity,” he said. “We’ll try and get her down (to the field), Mom and Dad. It should be fun. I got to play against my brother twice and went 1-1 in college. It’s a pretty rare occurrence. Obviously you see it with the Manning brothers, and I’m sure there’s a few others around the league, but it’ll be fun. I think it’ll make for a great story to tell when you’re older. I’m looking forward to it and I hope he makes some plays.”