Ever since Matthews burst onto the scene in the NFL back in 2009, hamstring injuries have hindered the All-Pro linebacker. It only took three weeks for that issue to rear its ugly head once again, as Matthews sat out the second half of Green Bay's loss against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Even though Matthews missed an entire half of football, he still managed to record a sack of Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton and force a fumble that resulted in a M.D. Jennings recovery and subsequent touchdown. Another forced fumble by Matthews led to three more points for Green Bay in the second quarter, but it also led to his exit -- it was on that play that Matthews felt a tweak.
With Matthews off the field, the defense still played well, and it was the offense that coughed up the lead when Cincinnati had a fumble-six of its own in the fourth quarter.
Following the game, Matthews downplayed the severity of his hamstring pull, an injury that kept him out of four games in 2012.
"I'll be good," Matthews said. "I think [Sunday] was more of a preventive measure than anything. I felt like I could go out there, but we have to be smart with this, especially going into the bye week. I don't see myself missing any time."
That's obviously refreshing to hear from a Packer fan's perspective, but then again, every game is important during the regular season. If Matthews is able to give it a go, then he's out there, especially in a difficult and hotly contested road game.
The problem is that other Packers are dealing with hamstring injuries, such as cornerback Casey Hayward and safety Morgan Burnett, who haven't played a single down this season. It's been a near epidemic for Green Bay -- special teams ace Jarrett Bush and fullback John Kuhn were also inactive in Week 3 with strained hamstrings.
As Matthews said, the bye week comes at an opportune time for not only him, but a banged-up Green Bay squad as a whole. His particular ailment, however, seems to be a recurring theme, and if it's as severe as the injuries plaguing Burnett and Hayward, then Nick Perry and Mike Neal will really need to step up.
The amount of experience at outside linebacker is slim for the Packers beyond Matthews. To be without him for an extended period of time could be detrimental to a team that's already in a hole at 1-2, but if we take Matthews for his word, we should expect to see him in Week 5 against the Detroit Lions.
Dave Radcliffe is a resident of a little known Milwaukee suburb who is an avid follower of Wisconsin sports. He has contributed to JSOnline, as a featured columnist on other sites and publications, and been a guest on multiple sports talk radio shows.
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