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Packers linebacker Clay Matthews was able to play Sunday despite a groin injury, but his snap count was limited.

Matthews was on the field for just 47 of the Packers' 78 defensive snaps, 60 percent of the plays. Packers coach Mike McCarthy said the plan worked "pretty good." Matthews was effective, making the defense's biggest play on a third-quarter interception of Bears quarterback Jay Cutler.

Green Bay will host the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday night at Lambeau Field. McCarthy said the reason for Matthews playing fewer snaps wasn't a direct result of the Packers' short week ahead.

"No, it was clearly medical," McCarthy said. "… We've done this in the past, and in hindsight it was wrong. We'd try to calculate and save this guy, and it was part of our diagnosis on if this guy was going to play."

McCarthy said he no longer believes in limiting players in hopes of getting more production the next week, even when games are spaced only four days apart. If a player is healthy, he's playing.

But McCarthy said the Packers communicated with Matthews throughout Sunday's game, constantly checking to see how his injury felt. They told him to be honest with his body, to not stretch himself too far.

"Clay communicated very well, and we set a good plan based on a lot of it, was his input," McCarthy said. "I mean, he's a veteran. He knows his body better than anybody.

"I'm not saving players for the next week. That's not the way we operate now."

-rwood@gannett.com and follow him on Twitter @ByRyanWood

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