Matthews: 'I expect myself to be out there on Sunday'
Clay Matthews is a man of his word.
After telling a small group of reporters Thursday he plans to play against the Chicago Bears, the Green Bay Packers listed the sixth-year outside linebacker as probable for this Sunday's NFC North showdown at Soldier Field.
Matthews was estimated as a limited participant since the Packers no longer practice on Fridays with their new schedule, but he said there haven't been any setbacks from the injury he sustained in the third quarter of Sunday's 19-7 loss to Detroit.
"Provided there's no setbacks, I expect myself to be out there on Sunday," Matthews said. "It feels good, progressively getting better throughout the week and more confident and comfortable being out there. Yesterday was a big step in the right direction from Wednesday, and today I'm sure would have been.
"I don't anticipate there being any problems."
Matthews, jokingly admitting he's not a doctor, believes he avoided a more significant injury because it was a cause-and-effect injury instead of being related to fatigue, which played into his prior hamstring issues. He exited in the third quarter when trying to hurdle Lions receivers Golden Tate, who was attempting a cut block.
The Packers could certainly use him. He has 7½ sacks in eight games against the Bears, who will be playing without starting center Roberto Garza (ankle) and guard Matt Slauson (ankle).
Matthews was playing close to 90 percent of the defensive snaps prior to aggravating exiting and not returning against the Lions. Whether Matthews is ready for a full workout on Sunday likely will be determined during Saturday's final run-through.
One other factor the team will have to consider is the short week that awaits for them. They host the Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau Field next Thursday.
"I think we've talked about this with my injuries in the past that I wouldn't be out there if I wasn't full go with the caveat that we'll be smart," Matthews said. "We'll monitor the reps, especially going into a Thursday night game the following week, but we'll see how it goes, we'll see how it plays out, we'll see what they're coming out with in their personnel, their scheme and where we're at in the game."
— firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @WesHod.