Clay Matthews' cast to be smaller

The big, bulky cast that rendered linebacker Clay Matthews largely ineffective in his return to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday won't be needed this weekend against the New York Giants.

Matthews practiced Wednesday with a much smaller version of the cast on his right hand, and coach Mike McCarthy said his star pass rusher should be able to use that for Sunday's road game.

"Based on the doctor's report, he's able to now," McCarthy said. "I don't even know what the term is. I think this is a normal path. [The size of the cast] starts to decrease each week."

Matthews, a four-time Pro Bowler, missed four games after breaking his right thumb Oct. 4 against the Detroit Lions. Upon his return, he played 39 snaps wearing a club-like cast in the team's 27-13 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. He was credited with just two tackles and did not have a sack or a quarterback hit.

"It's more so difficult going out there with one hand than dealing with the pain," Matthews said after the game. "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."