According to Fox Sports Wisconsin, Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews is expected to miss at least a month after breaking his thumb in Sunday’s win against the Detroit Lions. The injury occurred towards the end of the third quarter following a sack of Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford.
Matthews was seen heading to the Packers locker room and he did not return. On Monday, Packers head coach Mike McCarthy confirmed that Matthews will miss time and even went so far as to say that he is hopeful that Matthews will not be lost for the season.
Losing Matthews for any period of time is big for the Packers defense, but if the news ends up worse than originally thought and they are forced to play out the season without him, it would change the face of the entire unit. Matthews is the team’s undisputed best defensive player and as such, he was rewarded with a handsome contract extension during the offseason.
Many players have been able to return from and play with a broken hand or broken fingers. In 2010, former Packers defensive end Cullen Jenkins played with a club cast after breaking his hand. In 2011, safety Morgan Burnett played with the same-type club cast on his hand. A safety would presumably need as much use of his hands as possible and to see Burnett out there with it would lead one to think that the Packers are hopeful that Matthews can return sooner than later.
Defensive coordinator Dom Capers seemed to think that there was at least a chance that Matthews would get back and still be effective if he were to have to play with a cast on his hand.
In Matthews’ absence, the team will rely on Nick Perry and Mike Neal to provide a steady pass rush. It’s nearly impossible to replace a player of Matthews’ caliber, but if yesterday was any indication, the Packers may be in better shape than previously thought. Perry had two sacks with Neal registering one of his own. Still, don’t expect the production of Neal and Perry to come near equaling that of Matthews.
Stay tuned for further updates as more is learned about Matthews and the course of action that the team will take.——————
Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on AllGreenBayPackers.comFollow Jason Perone: