Clay Matthews will wear club when he returns
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Clay Matthews is less than one week away from having the pins removed from his broken right thumb. While Monday will be celebrated as the 187th game in the rivalry between the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears, for Matthews, it's the day that his cast comes off.
"Yeah, the rumors are true," Matthews said Wednesday in the locker room. "It feels good. Obviously, it's a unique break (a Bennett's fracture). If something were to happen to the pins while playing with it, that could mean a potential for season over for me. We're being cautious and careful with this. I'll have more news when they take the pins out."
Matthews will miss Monday's game, but it's unknown how many additional games the Packers' star outside linebacker will be out. However, when Matthews does return to the field, he confirmed that he'll be playing with a club over his right hand.
Matthews suffered the injury in the third quarter of Green Bay's Week 5 win over the Detroit Lions. He jogged off the field in pain, but his first instinct was to re-enter the game in the fourth quarter.
"I'm just a tough son of a bitch; pardon my language," Matthews said. "When you break a bone in your hand, especially with the adrenaline running, you don't really feel it until afterwards when the pain kicks in. But pain is not an issue as far as playing through it. I've played through a number of injuries. I've got a great pain threshold.
"It's about being smart and what I'm capable of doing -- at this position, too, it's difficult with one hand."
Matthews has already missed three games, so Monday night's game against the Bears will make it four in a row. After Matthews had surgery Oct. 7, the expectation was that he would be out about one month, so his recovery is on schedule.
"Once we got the X-rays, we learned it was a unique fracture/dislocation in which I was all for it (playing), but there was no way around it (surgery) with what these doctors were telling me the possible risks were, as well as future life after football as far as my hand and what could happen," Matthews said. "I definitely would like to push through it. I feel like I could and I'd be able to. Pain is not an issue for me. It's more so about being smart and at times I'm not the smartest."
While it'd be a bit of a reach to describe Matthews as injury prone, he hasn't played a full season since his rookie year in 2009. The nine games that Matthews has missed in his career, though, haven't helped make this comeback any easier for him.
"I'm not a patient guy," Matthews said. "I'll never learn to be patient. It's difficult because with most rehab injuries you feel as if you're getting better and working toward something, but with this it's obviously a different case. I kind of have to wait for doctors' opinions and specific procedures in order to take the field. That's what is the most frustrating."
Despite being without their top defensive player, the Packers have won all three games with Matthews sidelined. Matthews finished fifth in the NFL in sacks last season, but Green Bay's pass rush hasn't fallen off too much in his absence. Inside linebacker A.J. Hawk had a three-sack game in Baltimore and defensive lineman Mike Daniels has collected three sacks in the past two games.
"I've been very impressed with our team; It's not just about me," Matthews said. "There's a bunch of other guys on this team and they've been doing a fantastic job, specifically speaking on defense, getting pressure on the quarterback. It's good to see."
As Matthews approached his locker Wednesday following the team picture, he struggled to get his jersey off and eventually walked out of sight to remove it. So, while playing football hasn't been a part of Matthews' life the past three weeks, other tasks have been an issue, too.
"There are a lot of things that I did with my right hand that I now have to do with my left hand," Matthews said. "I'll leave it up to the imagination."
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