McCarthy: Matthews ‘not ready to play’

Packers coach Mike McCarthy said earlier in the week that Clay Matthews would be “a stretch” to play Sunday, so it was little surprise when McCarthy didn’t need to stretch into Sunday to declare his Pro Bowl linebacker out for Green Bay’s game against the Minnesota Vikings.

The coach said Friday that Matthews took part only in rehab Friday and that the team’s sacks leader was not ready to return to the practice field. Matthews has been out with a hamstring injury since Nov. 4 despite the team’s original projection of a two-week recovery period.

The Packers won their first two games without Matthews but missed him dearly in their 38-10 loss last weekend against the New York Giants. With the timetable for recovery becoming the only thing that’s stretching, McCarthy wasn’t willing to forecast whether Matthews will return next week against the Detroit Lions.

“I couldn’t tell you; we’ll talk about it next week.” McCarthy said. “He’s making progress, but he’s not ready to play in the game.”

Another Pro Bowl selection is returning for the Packers. Wide receiver Greg Jennings is probable and likely will play for the first time since Sept. 30 after recovering from an abdominal injury that had him at less than 100 percent for even the limited action he got in the first month of the season. Jennings practiced fully for most of the week.

“Greg looks good,” McCarthy said. “He’s going through some of the bumps that you have when you come back for the first week of practice, but he has a spring in his step and he’s ready to go.”

Coming off the Thursday news that running back Cedric Benson needed foot surgery and will miss the rest of the season, the remainder of the Packers’ injury report was expected.

Starting defensive backs Sam Shields (ankle) and Charles Woodson (collarbone) and defensive end C.J. Wilson (knee) are out. So are backups running back Johnny White (concussion) and tight end Andrew Quarless (knee). Linebacker Terrell Manning (shoulder) is doubtful, and wide receiver Donald Driver (thumb) is questionable. Safety M.D. Jennings (shoulder), offensive tackle Marshall Newhouse (wrist), defensive end Ryan Pickett (thigh) and safety Sean Richardson (back) are probable.