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McCarthy delivers encouraging report on Matthews, Chillar

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By PFW staff

Injuries continue to be the hot topic in Mike McCarthy's regular press conferences, as the Packers' head coach touched on the status of a number of key players Thursday, most notably LBs Clay Matthews and Brandon Chillar and DBs Al Harris and Atari Bigby.

McCarthy offered a promising report on Matthews, who missed last week's game with a hamstring injury, and Chillar, who has missed three games with a shoulder injury. "Clay participated in some of the team periods today ... and we'll see where he is tomorrow," McCarthy said of Matthews. "We're heading in the right direction, that's for sure."

As for Chillar, McCarthy said the team's best linebacker in coverage "practiced good today. I watched Brandon a bunch, He's making progress."

The prognosis wasn't quite as promising for starting ORT Mark Tauscher, who has missed the last two games with a shoulder injury. "If I had to put him in a category for this week, I would say he's between questionable and doubtful," McCarthy said.

On whether or not he plans to activate Harris and Bigby, who are fresh off the physically-unable-to-perform list, McCarthy said he is "going day to day" before making a final decision, perhaps as late as Saturday. "Atari had a nice interception in practice today," McCarthy said. "Al, I think, has looked more and more comfortable. He's still jumping routes, particularly in the team periods. It's good to have them out there."

McCarthy also said that the knee injury suffered last week by LB Brady Poppinga, which required surgery, is a bit more serious than had been originally anticipated.

"Actually, they found a little more than we expected, so he'll obviously be out for the next couple weeks,” McCarthy said. "We're gathering more information on the long-term diagnosis for Brady."

The way we see it

Getting both Matthews and Chillar back would really help a Packers LB corps that is going to miss the solid run-stopping quality that Poppinga provided last week before getting hurt. It was in the first game last year against Minnesota in prime time that Matthews first broke through big-time, making one of the best plays of the year when he ripped the ball from Vikings RB Adrian Peterson's hands and rumbled 42 yards for a touchdown.

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