While the Packers laid an egg against the Lions, one thing that the Packers have been able to do a good job of is staying relatively injury free. While the injury list hasn’t gotten smaller, it’s mostly filled with players with minor injuries, in fact there were no players who did not participate on practice on Wednesday in some form or another.
Davon House – House was unable to finish the game against the Lions with an injury to the left knee. The Packers haven’t divulged exactly the nature or extent of House’s injury but it’s likely to be a small issue as House was a full participant in practice on Wednesday. House has been on of the surprise performers on the Packers defense, playing very well against the Jets and decent against the Lions. It’s likely that with both House and Hayward on the mend from injuries, both will likely be on a snap count and may rotate at nickel back. Expect to see House continue to be a full participant in practice and be active against the Bears.
Clay Matthews – Matthews also was unable to finish the game due to a groin injury, which was apparently caused by a cut block by wide receiver Golden Tate, which adds more fuel to that fire. While Matthews has had a history of hamstring injuries, this would appear to be the first groin injury for Matthews. Depending on the injury, its possible that Matthews could be sidelined for quite a time, keep in mind Greg Jennings suffered a groin/hernia injury and missed 8 weeks during his contract year but was able to play during the post season and had relatively good numbers. Matthews is likely a less serious injury considering he already practiced in limited fashion on Wednesday and has played injured effectively in the past. Matthews will like be active and start against the Bears but might spend more time on the bench than usual as Mike Neal and Nick Perry get more snaps.
Nick Perry – Speaking of Perry, the backup outside linebacker suffered a wrist injury, possible a re-aggravation of the wrist injury that ultimately ending his rookie season. At this point not much news has come out about Perry’s injury but it was significant enough to downgrade Perry to a limited participant in practice on Wednesday, however it’s promising that Perry was able to practice right away so hopefully that indicates a minor injury. It’s rather unfortunate that Perry suffered an injury at the same time as Matthews as it’s likely Perry would have gotten more snaps this week. Considering Perry’s injury history, its possible that he could be one of the inactive players against the Bears with Jayrone Elliot and Mike Neal getting some snaps instead.
Brad Jones: Jones injured his quadriceps during the 3rd preseason game against the Raiders and has not played except for the season opener against the Seahawks, then bowing out again to his injury. In more positive news Jones has been practicing in a limited fashion this week, which is obviously better than just standing around in shorts at practice. In the meanwhile Jamari Lattimore and Sam Barrington have both subbed in for Jones and Lattimore in particular has done quite well. The Packers may let Jones start, but chances are good at best he’s on a short leash and at worse, they will give Lattimore the benefit of the doubt and wait for him to screw up first. Jones has a probably chance of being active and playing in the game against the Bears, linebackers as a whole are very versatile and Jones does have experience playing on special teams.
Bryan Bulaga: Bulaga suffered a knee injury against the Seattle Seahawks during the season opener but has been a regular participant in practices, limited last week while finally being upgraded to full participant this week. Bulaga was also a surprise starter on the offensive line against the Seahawks and played about average, which is more than can be said about Derek Sherrod. With no setback to Bulaga’s knee, which likely will require surgery at the end of the season, Bulaga should be a starter at right tackle against the Bears and will allow Derek Sherrod to return to back up swing tackle.
Casey Hayward – Hayward apparently is suffering from some tightness in his hamstring, something which him and Clay Matthews share in common. Hayward has a history of hamstring injuries, most notably he missed a majority of the 2013 season (weeks 1-7) due to hamstring tightness and then was sent to IR after 3 weeks with a knee injury. Hayward was another surprise active player against the Lions, playing 15 snaps and grading out well (which has never been a problem for Hayward). Perhaps most promising is that Hayward did not appear on the Packers injury report, indicating that he is past his hamstring injury. However, as with Clay Matthews, Hayward is likely one play away from re-aggravating his hamstring and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Hayward as the dimeback, and being on a snap count until he’s fully recovered.
Micah Hyde – Micah Hyde was injured during a punt return against the Jets in the second quarter and was held out for the rest of the game, which was later diagnosed as a patellar contusion (bruised knee). Hyde was active against the Lions and played 58 snaps, compared to 75 snaps for Morgan Burnett and 30 for Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (the Packers played some 3 safety defensive packages, hence why the odd numbers). Punt return duties were handed to Randall Cobb against the Lions and did pretty well with a 22 yard return. It’s possible that the Packers feel that depth at wide receiver is good enough where they can risk Cobb on returns while the defensive backfield is a little more banged up with Hayward and House on the mend.
Thomas Hobbes is a staff writer for Jersey Al’s AllGreenBayPackers.com.