When star Green Bay Packers outside linebacker Clay Matthews pulled up lame in the first half of the team’s 31-17 win over the Arizona Cardinals Sunday, the dire thoughts of every Packers fan across the nation turned to a terrible long-term prognosis.
While the extent of the injury hasn’t been revealed, Green Bay fans shouldn’t worry about Matthews or his hamstring; the team was just playing it safe.
Matthews was obviously bothered by the injury—twice coming off the field limping—so the Packers made the executive decision to sit the star down for the remainder of the game.
With the victory well in hand and the recent soft-tissue injuries with Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson, there was no reason to push the defensive star. The Packers have a bye in Week 10, so sitting Matthews for the second half was a no-brainer.
Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is reporting on Matthews’ hamstring issues and what the injury could mean going forward for the young linebacker:
He was attended to on the sideline and then taken to the locker room. He returned to the field later in sweats and was able to jog off after the game was over. That's a good sign, but this is an injury that has plagued Matthews since his rookie season. He missed most of training camp in '09 and '10 because of a left hamstring pull, but was able to manage the injury during the regular season. It appeared Matthews injured the same hamstring, although that has not been confirmed.
While the fact that this isn’t the first hamstring issue Matthews faced is a legitimate cause for concern, the previous problems came two years ago; this is likely not at all related.
Matthews will have to work through this injury just like he did with his previous hamstring issues, but just as he did in his rookie and sophomore campaigns, he will overcome the problems using the bye as an extra week of rest and return to his elite form in Week 11.
The star outside linebacker is still one of the best in the league, and a minor roadblock along the way won’t hurt his long-term success.
Green Bay knows exactly how to handle these types of injuries due to the recent string of soft-tissue injuries, so Matthews has the best care money could buy.
With two weeks before he suits up again, Packers fans shouldn’t worry about getting their sackmaster back in the lineup; Matthews will be there when the team plays their NFC North rival, the Detroit Lions.
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