So they were relieved that defensive tackle Ryan Pickett, who briefly left practice on Thursday, wasn’t seriously injured after banging his hand early in the workout.
With Matthews likely sidelined for a month because of the broken thumb he sustained in Sunday's game against the Detroit Lions, the Packers need all the defensive playmakers they can get. Pickett, one of their top run defenders, was able to return to practice and is expected to play Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens.
Packers coach Mike McCarthy called Pickett’s injury a bruised hand.
“I have no idea (what happened); I have to watch the play,” Pickett said after practice. “I just know I felt like I hit a brick wall with it. It was hurting.”
Cornerback Casey Hayward likely is still a week away from returning from the hamstring injury that has prevented him from playing this season, but he was an official practice participant for the first time on Thursday. He was listed as limited. A week earlier, he went through some individual drills but did not officially practice.
“Casey Hayward looked good today,” McCarthy said after practice. “Bounced around, had a smile on his face. He was a trial return.”
How Hayward feels after practicing will help determine whether he can play next week against the Cleveland Browns, although he has not yet been ruled out for this week.
“I know last week he was very sore and said he wasn’t ready,” McCarthy said.
While running back James Starks already has been ruled out for the second straight week because of a knee injury, McCarthy said the oft-injury veteran appears to be on the mend.
“I’m told he’s feeling better,” McCarthy said. “He’s got a great outlook on it, so I don’t think it’s going to be as long as some of the past injuries.”
Here’s the full injury report: