Matthews expects no limitations Sunday from groin

Weston Hodkiewicz
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Clay Matthews has been limited at practice this week with his second groin injury of the season, but the Green Bay Packers linebacker said Thursday his latest episode isn't as severe as the one he suffered Week 3 against Detroit.

Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lambeau Field.

Even then, the four-time Pro Bowler was able to play the next week against Chicago. He even returned a Jay Cutler interception for 40 yards.

The fact he was able to practice in limited capacity Wednesday and Thursday seems to suggest he'll be available for Sunday's game against Minnesota barring a setback.

"I was a little sore after the game in regards to the injury with my groin and everything," Matthews said. "I was able to do a lot more today than I was yesterday and obviously we don't work on Friday, that's our rehab day. I feel good. So, I don't think there were will be any limitations going into this weekend."

Matthews' first groin aggravation forced him out of the 19-7 loss to the Lions and caused him to miss practice time, but hasn't been an issue in the two months since.

Already the centerpiece of Dom Capers' defense, his importance has grown with his insertion at inside linebacker the past few weeks. When asked how this injury compared to his first, Matthews said it's less restricting.

"I think we're just being more cautious than anything," Matthews said. "I was able to go out there against Chicago, cautiously, of course. I feel like the progression I'm making this week as opposed to maybe Week 3 and 4 is ahead of where I was."

So if another interception happens to be thrown his way?

"I might go 50 yards and not 40," Matthews joked.

Outside linebacker Nick Perry, who's stepped into Matthews' starting outside spot over the last two games, missed his second consecutive practice with a shoulder injury. The plan is still for him to test it on Saturday.

If Perry can't go, fifth-year veteran Mike Neal would step into his starting spot across from Julius Peppers with rookie Jayrone Elliott possibly being in line for more work.

Matthews could also shift back outside, though he only rushed four time in Sunday's 53-20 win over Philadelphia from that spot.

"I think it's more of a next man up type of mentality around here," Matthews said. "I'm sure Eliott will have more opportunities as well as Mike and JP. As we have seen in weeks prior, I rush off the edge and play in the middle, so wherever they need me, I will be there."​

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