The Green Bay Packers learned some unfortunate news on Monday as star linebacker Clay Matthews is reportedly expected to miss about a month with a broken thumb.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reported the news:
Packers LB Clay Matthews still is undergoing more testing, but he is expected to miss one month with a broken thumb.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 7, 2013
Surgery on Packers LB Clay Matthews broken thumb is considered likely.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 7, 2013
If Matthews indeed does need surgery for his thumb, Tom Silverstein of the Milwuakee Journal Sentinel speculated that the injury could even be season-ending.
Matthews injured his right thumb in the third quarter of the Packers' Week 5 win against the Detroit Lions, when he sacked Matthew Stafford for a 12-yard loss and went to the locker room shortly after. It was first reported as a broken thumb by Fox Sports 1's Mike Garafolo:
Packers LB Clay Matthews suffered a broken thumb today. Unclear whether he'll be able to play through it,— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) October 6, 2013
Losing Matthews for any period of time would be a crushing blow for a Green Bay defense that ranks in the middle of the pack defensively. Through five weeks, Green Bay is 17th in points allowed per game (24.3) and 18th in yards allowed per game (374.8).
Matthews has reached the Pro Bowl in each of his first four seasons in the NFL and has three sacks so far in 2013. Once he went down with his injury, the Packers were encouraged by the performances from backups Mike Neal and Nick Perry, who are expected to take over outside linebacker duties, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com.
Mike Vandermause of the Green Bay Press-Gazette tweeted that Neal and Perry each earned game balls for their efforts in the 22-9 victory over Detroit:
#Packers D-coordinator Dom Capers will turn to Mike Neal, Nick Perry at OLB in Matthews' absence. Neal, Perry earned game balls vs. Lions.— Mike Vandermause (@MikeVandermause) October 7, 2013
The Packers (2-2) currently trail Chicago (3-2) and Detroit (3-2) in the NFC North with their next four games coming up against the Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns, Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears.