Starter Pack: Awaiting word on Matthews

A roundup of what’s happening on the Green Bay Packers beat.

For the second time in three weeks, the Packers are holding out hope that Clay Matthews isn’t seriously injured.

That was perhaps the single biggest takeaway from Sunday’s 22-9 victory over the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field other than the victory itself, which allowed the Packers to avoid a potentially disastrous 1-3 start.

But even at 2-2, the outlook wouldn’t be quite as rosy if the broken thumb Matthews sustained on his third-quarter sack of Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford requires surgery. As of Sunday night, the Packers were still holding out hope that Matthews will be able to avoid surgery and play with the injury, a source told ESPN.com.

Matthews came back from his Week 3 hamstring injury and did not miss a start, although the Week 4 bye helped him in that regard.

If Matthews is forced to miss time because of the thumb, the Packers will rely even more heavily on Mike Neal and Nick Perry, each of whom turned in career-best performances against the Lions.


  • The rest of our ESPN.com coverage included a look at how some remarkable performances by running back Eddie Lacy, receivers Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson and James Jones, plus a solid showing by the offensive line, were tempered by the fact that the offense settled for field goals instead of touchdowns. If the Packers are going to settle for field goals, at least kicker Mason Crosby is in a good groove. Details of his performance can be found in the Locker Room Buzz. Other noteworthy items from the game were in the Rapid Reaction.

  • ESPN Lions reporter Michael Rothstein and I discussed the game in video format.

  • On the ESPN Lions page, Rothstein explained just how much the Lions missed receiver Calvin Johnson, who did not play because of a knee injury.

  • At ESPNWisconsin.com, Jason Wilde wrote that “the most important development with this team … is the legitimate running game that has appeared,” and Sarah Barshop detailed Lacy’s near 100-yard rushing game.

  • In the Green Bay Press-Gazette, cornerback Davon House said, via Pete Dougherty’s story, that the Lions playing without Johnson was “like a day without Aaron Rodgers.” Robert Zizzo broke down Jones’ 83-yard touchdown reception, which was the only time the Packers found the end zone all game. Columnist Mike Vandermause believes the Packers would’ve won, with or without Johnson on the field.

  • In the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Bob McGinn wrote that Cobb provided the spark the Packers needed. Tyler Dunne said Lacy found his groove, especially after Johnathan Franklin fumbled for the second time in as many games. Lori Nickel wrote that Crosby has his confidence back after struggling last season