The Packers got a glimpse of Clay Matthews’ importance Sunday night when Broncos running back C.J. Anderson rushed for a 28-yard touchdown on third down shortly after he departed with an ankle injury.
It was the type of play Matthews usually would prevent, either stuffing Anderson short of the first down or stopping him before he reached the end zone. With Matthews on the sideline, the Broncos running back found nothing but green grass in the middle of the field.
Which is why Matthews’ status will be a constant inquiry this week as the Packers prepare to travel to the Carolina Panthers.
“Everybody knows that Clay’s important to us,” defensive coordinator Dom Capers said. “We’ll just have to wait and see where he is.”
Matthews returned to the field after getting his ankle re-taped, a sign he may be available this week. Of course, as the Packers have learned again this season, ankle injuries can be tricky. Capers said he hadn’t spoken with Matthews on Monday.
He was pleased with how Matthews looked after returning to the game.
“I thought he came back and played the way he played all of the plays,” Capers said. “I didn’t notice a significant difference.”
Packers got one bit of good news Monday with cornerback Sam Shields, whose shoulder injury that knocked him out of Sunday’s game wasn’t serious, according to a league source. Shields will be day to day, the source said.
The Packers also lost rookie cornerback Quinten Rollins to a shoulder injury against the Broncos.