At his locker room Wednesday, Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews made it clear to reporters he’s ready to get back on the field after suffering a fractured thumb in week five against the Detroit Lions. The first step to his return comes next Monday when Matthews will get the pins from his thumb removed.
“It feels good,” Matthews said referring to the injury. “Obviously, it’s a unique break, and like I’ve said in that if something were to happen to the pins while playing with it that could mean a potential for season (being) over for me. We’re being cautious and careful with this.”
Matthews wanted to make it clear it isn’t the pain that’s kept him out of the lineup the past several weeks. Initially, Matthews said he was “all for playing” despite the broken thumb, but the team doctors determined it was better for Matthews in the long run to sit out until the thumb fully heals.
“Pain is not an issue for me. It’s more about being smart. . . I’ve played through a number of injuries. I’ve got a great pain threshold.”
The Packers star outside linebacker put it bluntly. He’d like to play. It’s killing him not to, but he has to be patient with this injury. If he played with the pins in and further injured his thumb it could end his season and possibly affect his career.
The good news is that with the pins being removed next week Matthews could return soon. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Matthews could potentially return as soon as the Philadelphia game on Nov. 10.
This means Matthews may only miss one more game this season. However, this fast of a return is a best case scenario, and it may be more likely Matthews will get back on Nov. 17 against the New York Giants. Either way, it’s good to know Matthews is close to returning.
When Matthews returns he’ll have to play with a club on his left hand. Similar to what Cullen Jenkins, Brad Jones, and Morgan Burnett have played with in recent memory.
In the three games without Matthews, the Packers have still managed to generate 11 sacks. However, a majority of the quarterback pressure has come from blitzing inside linebackers and defensive backs. It will be nice when the Packers will have their top pass rusher back and won’t have to rely on sending the house to get to the quarterback.
Even with a club, Matthews will continue to be a difference maker. The Packers defense will only get better with him back in the lineup.