Bay Packers’ Clay Matthews before NFL football training camp
Saturday, Aug. 1 , 2015, in Green Bay, Wis.
GREEN BAY — Clay
Matthews understood why everyone was so concerned.
But the Green Bay
Packers five-time Pro Bowl linebacker Clay Matthews insisted that
missing Monday morning's practice with what coach Mike McCarthy termed
"knee soreness" is not cause for alarm.
you guys' worry," Matthews said in a brief post-practice
appearance in the locker room. "Honestly, I'm going to be fine.
You'll be like, 'Oh, Clay just gave us a heart attack.'"
Packers coach Mike
McCarthy also downplayed the injury, saying the team was "just
being smart with him."
injury history and his importance to the Packers' defense, any injury
that would keep him off the field once the regular season begins Sept.
13 would be a major blow to a unit that turned around when the coaches
began using him at inside linebacker in addition to his work on the
At the time of the
move, the defense was ranked 25th in the 32-team NFL, including dead
last against the run. By season's end, Green Bay was 15th in overall
defense and No. 23 against the run, as the Packers went from giving up
an average of 153.5 yards per game on the ground during the first
eight games to 86.4 yards per game in the final eight.
The team went into
the offseason intent on playing Matthews inside more, choosing not to
add another veteran inside linebacker despite cutting the two
opening-day starters from last season (A.J. Hawk and Brad Jones) and
letting a third part-time starter (Jamari Lattimore) depart as a free
agent. The Packers did select Michigan inside linebacker Jake Ryan in
the fourth round in May, but Matthews had been working inside
extensively before missing Monday's practice.
hasn't changed. He's always worked this much. Where he is working has
changed," McCarthy said last week when asked about how Matthews
was being used in practice. "He's spending a lot more time at the
inside linebacker position. We all understand that. I mean, he's
played his whole career at outside linebacker, so the ability to keep
moving him over there every third day or so is the plan. Just to get
the reps from inside and get the full training because he's never had
that from starting in training and going all the way through training
Matthews watched a
brief portion of practice wearing a Packers baseball cap before
jogging off the field and into the Don Hutson Center, where McCarthy
said Matthews did rehabilitation work with other injured players
Asked how long he
might be out, Matthews replied, "I don't know. I have no idea.
(We're) just taking the car into the pit shop, getting the wheels
changed, getting ready for the season."
Matthews played in
all 18 games last season (including playoffs), although he did battle
a groin injury for part of the year. He missed a total of six games in
2013, including the Packers' NFC wild-card playoff loss to the 49ers,
after twice breaking his thumb.
He has also fought
hamstring problems since the Packers took him No. 26 overall in the
2009 draft; Matthews missed one game in 2010 and four games in 2012.
The only other game he missed before the thumb injury was the 2011
regular-season finale, when McCarthy rested him and several other key
veterans with the No. 1 playoff seed already sewn up.
something in his knee during Saturday's first in-pads practice of
training camp, McCarthy said. The players had Sunday off before
returning to practice Monday.