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Packers linebacker Clay Matthews battles ankle injury, sackless streak

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Green Bay Packers’ defense has gone eight straight quarters without a sack. Clay Matthews has played on a bum left ankle for six of them.

It’s likely no coincidence.

Matthews sprained his left ankle in the third quarter of the Nov. 1 loss at Denver after teammate Damarious Randall rolled up on his leg. He’s had to play with it heavily taped ever since and said Thursday he likely will play Sunday against the Detroit Lions with the same type of wrap.

“It helps; it definitely helps,” Matthews said. “I did a pretty good number on all those joints down there. Just the fact that I can help it out in any way definitely helps out.”

Matthews actually was listed on the injury report because of both an ankle and a knee. He has been a limited participant in practice this week. Earlier this season, he also had a quad injury.

“Just trying to battle through it,” Matthews said. “Obviously, dealing with a little bit of pain in all three of those areas but it’s getting better daily, slowly but surely. It’s a little frustrating in that regard but as long as I can be out there, I’ll be out there making sure I can help this team out in any way possible. I’ll continue to treat as much as I can and hopefully it continues to get better week in and week out.”

Matthews still leads the Packers in quarterback hits (with 11), although he has registered just one in the last two games. He ranks second on the team in sacks (4.5) behind Julius Peppers (5.5).

Heading into the Denver game two weeks ago, the Packers were tied for second in the NFL with 23 sacks. Still stuck on that number, they have slipped into a tie for fifth.

They had a league-best streak going of 42 straight games with at least one sack. Now, they’ve been shut out two games in a row.

“They do come in bunches, and you’re not going to go out and get six sacks every week,” Peppers said. “We’ve just got to worry about more importantly getting pressure and getting them out of their rhythm more so than getting sacks and things like that. We just want to disrupt.”