Green Bay Packers (2-2) head coach Mike McCarthy addressed reporters and the media on Wednesday and said the Packers will be without a pair of linebackers on Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens (3-2).
The Packers medically ruled out All-Pro outside linebacker Clay Matthews (thumb) and inside linebacker Brad Jones (hamstring) for Sunday's game in Baltimore. According to the Packers' official injury report and McCarthy, running back James Starks (knee) and offensive lineman Greg Van Roten (foot) have both been ruled out as well for a second consecutive game.
McCarthy said Matthews will sit out "multiple weeks" after fracturing his thumb on the final play of the third quarter in the Packers' home win over the Detroit Lions (3-2). McCarthy said though it will be an "excellent opportunity" for players such as Mike Neal, Nick Perry along with rookies Andy Mulumba and Nate Palmer.
In Sunday's win over the Lions, Perry and Neal recorded three of the five sacks by the Packers defense against a Lions' offensive line which had only allowed three sacks in their previous four games.
McCarthy said he has "no reason to believe" Jones will be out too long. Jones is the Packers' second-leading tackler this season and he has forced one fumble and registered one sack.
In Jones' place, McCarthy said the Packers plan to start third-year linebacker Jamari Lattimore. Rob Francois was orginally the designated backup at inside linebacker, but Francois suffered a season-ending achilles injury against the Lions. In three seasons, primarily on special teams, Lattimore has recorded 15 total tackles.
Jones is one of six Packers to suffer a hamstring injury this season. It is second time Jones has suffered a hamstring injury, dating back to the preseason. McCarthy said though he aggravated his other hamstring on Sunday against Detroit, not the same one from the preseason.
Injuries have always been an alarming issue in Green Bay, especially in the past four seasons, as the Packers have become extremely hamstrung because of the injury bug which has traveled throughout the team since training camp.
The Packers live and die by the "next man up" mantra and they'll hopefully survive by that mantra through Sunday against the defending Super Bowl Champions.
Other News and Notes: The NFL has fined Packers' safety Jerron McMillian $15K for his shoulder-to-helmet hit on Lions' tight end Tony Scheffler, according to Fox Sports Wisconsin. McMillian will appeal the fine and it is the second time the NFL has fined McMillian for unnecessary roughness since he entered the league in 2012.
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