Clay Matthews on track to play Sunday

I just jumped on conference calls with Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy and quarterback Aaron Rodgers and have a few posts coming. But as always, you come first.

Many of you have been asking about the status of linebacker Clay Matthews (hamstring), as well as the three players activated off the physically unable to perform (PUP) list this week. McCarthy said that Matthews had a "very positive" workout Wednesday and is hopeful he will practice Thursday. If that happens, only a setback would prevent Matthews from returning to the field Sunday night against the Minnesota Vikings. It's still early in the week, but his prospects look good.

The timetable for cornerback Al Harris, safety Atari Bigby and running back James Starks is less clear. All three players practiced Wednesday for the first time this year. Even if they're completely healthy, each player probably needs more than three days of work to be in game condition.

McCarthy said the Packers are following a protocol they used with right tackle Mark Tauscher last year. "It was approximately two or three weeks before Mark was able to compete in a game," McCarthy said. "We'll basically evaluate the film every day and make sure that the movement and the conditioning that you need at this time of year are intact with those players."

Stranger things have happened, but I guess it would be surprising if Harris, Bigby or especially Starks were in uniform Sunday night.