Packers’ Matthews, Lacy reinjured against Steelers

Clay Matthews holds his hand after sacking Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger during the first half.

Mike Roemer/Mike Roemer/Associated Press

GREEN BAY, Wis. — While the Packers’ loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers ended up not meaning much, the loss of two star players during the game could have a very negative effect on Green Bay’s playoff chances.

Both outside linebacker Clay Matthews and running back Eddie Lacy suffered injuries Sunday, and neither was able to return. More importantly, their availability for next weekend’s regular-season finale — with the NFC North title up for grabs — could be in question.

Matthews reinjured his right thumb after sacking Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in the second quarter.

"I couldn’t give you a timeline, but I think based off the history of what happened the first time, I’m told it’s similar to the repeat injury," coach Mike McCarthy said.

Steelers 38, Packers 31

Matthews removed his chin strap with his left hand and immediately went to the sideline to speak with Dr. Pat McKenzie. Soon after, Matthews walked to the locker room without his helmet and did not even return to the sideline.

"You hate to see it," fellow linebacker A.J. Hawk said of Matthews. "When Clay went down, we knew right away it was probably his thumb, and he probably wasn’t coming back."

If Matthews suffered a re-break of his right thumb, it’s highly unlikely he plays in Chicago. It could perhaps even keep Matthews out of any potential Packers playoff game.

Lacy, who’s been dealing with a sprained right ankle since Dec. 8, reinjured it late in the third quarter.

"Yeah, it’s the same thing; reaggravated it," Lacy said in the locker room.

Lacy limped off the field and spent the rest of the game on the bench with a coat over his shoulders. There did not appear to be any intention by the Packers to put Lacy back in the game, though his return was officially listed as questionable.

"I’m definitely going to do everything I can do to get it feeling as good as I possibly can, so I can go out and be with my team next week," Lacy said.

It was a bittersweet day for Lacy, whose 15-carry, 84-yard performance helped him break Green Bay’s franchise rookie record for rushing yards in a season. John Brockington’s 1,105-yard season in 1971 had held up for 42 years.

"Had we won, it would feel a little better," Lacy said of the record.

If Matthews and Lacy are out for the Week 17 game in Chicago, the Packers could be without nearly every one of their top players.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers has yet to be medically cleared, seven weeks after fracturing his left collarbone. Wide receiver Randall Cobb has also not been medically cleared with his fractured tibia, though he is eligible to return with his designation on injured reserve. But, being added to the active roster this week certainly wouldn’t guarantee that Cobb plays Sunday against the Bears.

Putting Matthews and Lacy on that list would seem to give Green Bay insurmountable odds at earning a spot in the postseason with a win in Chicago. After the season that the Packers have had, though, predicting how injuries will affect their wins and losses is more difficult than ever.

Because of the holidays this week, Green Bay won’t practice Wednesday. So, the next opportunity for Matthews and Lacy to be evaluated will likely be Thursday.

Follow Paul Imig on Twitter