The Green Bay Packers (1-2) received some positive news on Thursday, as All-Pro outside linebacker Clay Matthews was a full-participant in practice. Matthews suffered a hamstring injury in the third quarter of the Packers' week three 34-30 loss against the Cincinnati Bengals (2-2).
"He looks good, he definitely took a step today," Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said. "I'm optimistic (for Sunday). It's not a surprise, I knew he would do everything he could to play this week."
Packers cornerback Casey Hayward, who has been out since the end of the preseason with a hamstring injury, participated in individual drills on Thursday and McCarthy said it is part of his rehab training. Hayward, along with running back James Starks and offensive lineman Greg Van Roten, have all been ruled out for Sunday's game against the Detroit Lions (3-1).
The Lions have been one of the NFL's best third-down defensive units this season and Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb could help the Packers break through Detroit's defense. "Randall Cobb is off to an excellent start," McCarthy said. "He is primarily in the slot, he is getting more comfortable and he is a good football player."
Cobb has two career touchdowns on special teams and McCarthy said Thursday he has not decided on who will return kicks for the Packers on Sunday. The previous kick returner, Jeremy Ross, was released one day after the loss to the Bengals.
Under McCarthy, the Packers have been very good out of the bye week, winning six of seven games. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw two interceptions in the Bengals loss and McCarthy is confident his quarterback will bounce back at Lambeau Field. "Aaron is very tough on himself," McCarthy said. "He has had a really good week of preparation and spent a lot of extra time in the office. We just want him to be himself and play the way he's always played."
In other injury related news, Packers safety Morgan Burnett (hamstring), tight end Jermichael Finley (concussion), cornerback Jarrett Bush (hamstring), running back Johnathan Franklin (foot), and fullback John Kuhn (hamstring) all fully-participated in Thursday practice.
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