GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Clay Matthews’ separated left shoulder has turned him into a part-time player for the Green Bay Packers and while he hopes he will be able to do more each week, he believes it will be problematic for the rest of the season.
And it may take surgery after the season to fix it.
“I’ll see a specialist, and he’ll let me know,” Matthews said.
But for now, he plans to try to increase his workload as much as possible. He hasn’t played more than 29 snaps in a game since he was injured on Nov. 28 against the Philadelphia Eagles on what he called a “cheap shot” by offensive lineman Allen Barbre, a former teammate.
Matthews’ shoulder injury came a week after he returned from a three-game absence because of a hamstring injury. He took a pain-killing injection to finish the Eagles game, but hasn’t had a sack since and has been credited with just two tackles in the last two games combined while playing mostly as a situational pass-rusher on third downs.
Still, Matthews has been a difference-maker despite his limited reps and unimpressive stats. In the last four games, the Packers have been credited with pressures on 47 percent of opponent dropbacks when Matthews is part of the rush and 39 percent when he’s not, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
“With Clay’s health situation, we were going to try to limit him to try to get him through the game to where he didn’t have any setbacks,” Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers said. “And I think that was the case, so hopefully he’ll continue to be healthier this week.”
But it remains unclear whether Matthews will be able to handle a bigger workload this season.
“Each and every week, we do a little bit more,” Matthews said. “We’ll see what that means moving forward. I anticipate continuing to come in on the pass-rushing downs and hopefully spelling some of the guys a little bit more. But as I’ve said in weeks prior, I did a number to it, there’s some damage in there. It’ll continue to get stronger and better, but unfortunately until the offseason, it’s not getting 100 percent healthy. I’ll continue, I think, to progress health-wise, strength, range of motion, everything, and hopefully that correlates to more playing time.”