GREEN BAY, Wis. — Packers coach Mike McCarthy received some bad news and some surprisingly good news with his team two days away from a Sunday night showdown on the road against the New York Giants.
Pro Bowl outside linebacker Clay Matthews (hamstring) was officially ruled out and will miss his second consecutive game, but Pro Bowl wide receiver Greg Jennings is questionable, just three weeks after undergoing abdominal surgery.
“I had a chance to just visit with Greg briefly down at practice,” McCarthy said Friday. “He feels really good coming off of practice yesterday. He wanted to work today, and we said we’d sit down tomorrow, talk to Dr. (Pat) McKenzie and just see how he feels.
“The one concern is durability. That’s the last hurdle we feel that we need to get over.”
Jennings’ surgery took place Nov. 1 in Philadelphia with Dr. William Meyers. It’s been eight weeks since Jennings last practiced, but returning to the field this week wasn’t unexpected.
“This is actually the exact protocol from the surgeon, as far as the post-surgery protocol, was three weeks,” McCarthy said.
Jennings was a limited practice participant all week, including during Thursday’s padded practice. He initially injured his groin in Week 1, then played limited snaps in Weeks 3 and 4 before going back to the sideline. After more than an additional month of rehabilitation following his last game Sept. 30 against the New Orleans Saints, Jennings got a second medical opinion and ended up deciding on surgery once further tests revealed his groin injury had become an abdominal tear.
“Me, personally, I don’t feel I’m a long shot (to play Sunday),” Jennings said Wednesday. “Playing it safe, I think they could say long shot, but I feel great. The body feels great. Today was a big step for me. Whether or not I’ll play this week, that’s still yet to be determined.”
Matthews, who leads the Packers with nine sacks, didn’t have the same good fortune in his recovery this week. He has not played since injuring his hamstring Nov. 4 in a win over the Arizona Cardinals.
The day after Matthews’ injury, McCarthy expected him to be out “a couple weeks.” However, by game time Sunday, Matthews will have already missed three weeks.
“I don’t think I’ve ever asked a player if he’s OK and he didn’t tell me he was great, and then he doesn’t play for three weeks,” McCarthy said. “It happens. Their mindset is different, and they’re trying to get out on the field. The conversation a lot of times is between the player and the doctor are different than the ones I have.
“There are long-term plans and short-term plans, but we want to make sure that when Clay is back that he’s back for the run.”
The Packers are also still without veteran defensive back Charles Woodson, who broke his collarbone in Week 7. Woodson’s recovery timeline was approximately six weeks, so he should be nearing a return.
Starting cornerback Sam Shields (ankle) will miss his fifth consecutive game, but the rest of Green Bay’s injury report is relatively clean. Fullback John Kuhn (hamstring) is probable, as are wide receiver Donald Driver (thumb), nose tackle B.J. Raji (ankle) and outside linebackers Erik Walden (ankle) and Vic So’oto (illness).