Clay Matthews deals with pain and club

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews returned to the field Sunday after a four-game absence. Sort of.

Matthews was active and played a majority of the defensive snaps in a 27-13 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. But with a substantial club protecting his surgically repaired right thumb, Matthews struggled to separate from the Eagles' pass protection -- even after Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters departed with his own injury. Matthews unofficially finished with two tackles, along with one costly penalty for unnecessary roughness, on an afternoon when Eagles quarterback Nick Foles produced a 149.3 passer rating.

Matthews acknowledged residual pain in the hand, but confirmed the obvious: It's tough to be effective as a pass-rusher without your right hand.

"It's moreso difficult going out there with one hand than dealing with the pain," he said. "Obviously it's going to hurt, but that wears off. They assured me it would be very difficult to reinjure the hand being in a club with the protection that I have and how it's casted down.

"But at the same time, that doesn't mean the pain goes away. So that's just a byproduct that I need to continue to push through, and I think I will. Obviously today's the first day that I had live reps and live action throwing it in there, and we're obviously pushing the timeline, too, as far as returning. So it'll continue to improve, and we'll move forward."

The Packers did sack Foles three times, but one came when rookie Datone Jones got an ankle tackle as Foles tried to scramble. Another came on a cornerback blitz by Tramon Williams in the fourth quarter.