GREEN BAY - The Green Bay Packers will be without one of their best defensive players Sunday when they host the Seattle Seahawks. Outside linebacker Nick Perry who leads the team in sacks (8.0) and ranks fourth in tackles, has already been ruled out with a hand injury.
"He has a significant hand injury," coach Mike McCarthy said in his Wednesday news conference. "He will not be available this week. We’ll reassess on Monday and see where we are for Chicago."
A starter at outside linebacker, Perry injured his hand on the eighth play of scrimmage in Sunday's win over the Houston Texans. Perry crashed down from his familiar spot on the edge and tackled running back Lamar Miller for a 1-yard gain. He grabbed his left hand immediately as the pile of bodies dispersed.
RELATED: Seahawks scouting report
Perry was taken to the locker room and did not return until the start of the third quarter, when he reappeared with a massive club on the injured hand. He took the field for five additional snaps before finally bowing out for the duration of the game.
"I don’t know the specifics of how long they think it’s going to be, but I know talking with Nick, he wants to go," McCarthy said. "So that’s why we’re going to look at it Monday, and see where he is."
Replacing Perry, the team's best run stopper, would be a difficult task even if the rest of the linebacking corps was fully healthy. But with injuries to Clay Matthews (shoulder), Blake Martinez (knee), Jake Ryan (ankle) and Kyler Fackrell (hamstring), the situation is murky at best and calamitous at worst.
Matthews, who injured his shoulder against the Philadelphia Eagles last Monday night, played with somewhere between one and one and a half arms in Sunday's win over the Texans. Defensive coordinator Dom Capers shifted Matthews to inside linebacker at times for the second game in as many weeks, and his 29 total snaps were split as follows: twenty-one at outside linebacker, eight at inside linebacker.
But the injury to the AC joint left Matthews with a gory bruise the size of a paperback novel. His range of motion and strength were severely compromised; his reps were limited almost exclusively to third downs.
Somewhat predictably, McCarthy said Matthews will not practice between now and Saturday.
"He was extremely limited in the game," McCarthy said. "Each week it’s going to get better. That’s the hope. As far as having a setback, it didn’t help him playing in the game, but I think it speaks volumes about Clay in gutting it out and so forth. Just the plan this week, I mean, he won’t practice today or tomorrow. We’ll get to Saturday and kind of see where we are. But the goal is to try to get some strength back in the shoulder."
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers (hamstring) practiced in a limited fashion Wednesday. He took walk-through reps with the first-team offense during the portion of practice open to the media. The plan was similar to the one exercised during the team's first practice last week when Rodgers split time between the practice field and the rehab area.
His availability for Sunday is not in question.
Right guard T.J. Lang, who has missed the last three games with a foot injury, is moving closer to a potential return. Lang, who has not practiced since dropping out of the game against Tennessee, returned to the field Wednesday in a limited capacity. He participated in individual drills while the media was present but did not take any team reps.
JC Tretter (knee) followed the same plan as Lang.
"T.J. Lang is making progress," McCarthy said. "T.J. is going to do some limited work today, so we’ll have some information on him. I think he’s kind of crossing that threshold into doing some of the movement, the football, the actual practice drills and so forth to give us a better indication of where he is.
"JC Tretter is also close to that phase too. Both of those guys will do some work today at practice, and we’ll have a better assessment of those two."
Fackrell (hamstring), Ryan (ankle), cornerback LaDarius Gunter (unknown) and outside linebacker Julius Peppers (unknown) did not practice.