Starter Pack: Matthews on the mend

January, 29, 2014
Jan 29
8:00
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A roundup of what’s happening on the Green Bay Packers’ beat.

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- It’s a moot point now, but Packers linebacker Clay Matthews probably would have been able to play in the Super Bowl.

Matthews twice broke his right thumb during this past season. Both times he underwent surgery to have stabilizing pins placed in his hand. The first time he had those pins taken out (on Nov. 4), he played a week later, albeit with a large club-like cast that made it difficult for him to perform his usual duties.

According to FoxSports.com, Matthews had the second set of pins taken out last Friday.

Matthews missed four games after first breaking his thumb on Oct. 6 while sacking Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford. He sustained the same injury on Dec. 22 against the Pittsburgh Steelers while sacking quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Matthews missed the regular-season finale and the NFC wild-card playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

The Packers kept Matthews on the roster rather than place him on season-ending injured reserve with the hope that he could return if they made it to the Super Bowl.

Despite missing five games, Matthews led the Packers with 7.5 sacks. But he failed to make the Pro Bowl for the first time in his five-year career. After signing a five-year, $66 million contract extension last offseason, Matthews played in a career-low 11 games.

“I need to get healthy,” Matthews told FoxSports.com. “Rehab my thumb and get it back to 100 percent so that way there is no setback starting next season.”

In case you missed it on ESPN.com: Best of the rest:
  • At ESPNWisconsin.com, Jason Wilde wrote about Denver Broncos linebacker Paris Lenon’s long and winding road to the Super Bowl, which included a pair of stints with the Packers.
  • In the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Weston Hodkiewicz wrote that Mike Neal’s transition from defensive end to outside linebacker was a success, but was it enough to warrant a new contract for the free agent to be?
  • In the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Tyler Dunne wrote that talks between the Packers and cornerback Sam Shields, who is scheduled to be a free agent, remain on-going but the two sides don’t appear to have moved much closer to a deal.

Rob Demovsky

ESPN Green Bay Packers reporter

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