Clay Matthews returns to practice (finally)*

September, 6, 2010
9/06/10
1:32
PM ET
As the Green Bay Packers began Week 1 practice Monday, here were my two questions:
  1. Who will be the Packers' nickel and/or dime backs when they open the season Sunday at Philadelphia?
  2. Is linebacker Clay Matthews ever going to practice again?

We've already got partial answers on both questions. Matthews is participating in practice Monday for the first time since straining his hamstring Aug. 7. Matthews will need to regain his conditioning and timing in short order if he's going to make a significant impact so quickly after his return. His situation will be worth monitoring throughout the week.

Meanwhile, cornerback Brandon Underwood (shoulder) is not practicing. Underwood was once considered the leading candidate to be the Packers' fifth defensive back, but his injury would seem to have scuttled those plans. Other candidates include Sam Shields, Pat Lee and Jarrett Bush, probably in that order.

Coach Mike McCarthy is scheduled to speak with reporters later Monday, and we'll pass along any news he might provide.

*Update: Here's what McCarthy said about the nickel and dime situations: "We'll work through that this week. I would like to take that as far as I need to as far as who is lining up where. I know you guys respect that."

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