GREEN BAY – Mike McCarthy views the primary value of the bye week as a time to get players healthy, which means the Green Bay Packers coach must like what he sees on his team’s injury report entering Sunday’s post-bye game against the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field.
While cornerback Casey Hayward, who has been sidelined since reinjuring his hamstring Aug. 23, running back James Starks, whom McCarthy said will miss “a couple weeks” with the knee injury he suffered at Cincinnati Sept. 22, and backup center Greg Van Roten, who suffered a foot injury in practice Monday that’ll keep him out “multiple weeks,” McCarthy enters Sunday with everyone else having recovered from their various maladies.
Here’s a look at Friday’s full, official injury report:
Matthews, Finley, Franklin and Starks all left the Cincinnati game with injuries, while Kuhn and Lacy were hurt against Washington on Sept. 15 and Bush hasn’t played since the Sept. 8 opener at San Francisco.
“I really think the bye week, if you’re going to prioritize what’s the most important that happens, it’s players getting healthy. Let’s be honest,” said McCarthy, whose teams are 6-1 in their post-bye games. “With the new CBA rules, the opportunity to practice and do more things during the course of the bye week really doesn’t exist. You really have one day to do that. So how much better are you going to get as a team doing collective things?
“So the health part of it really helps the players. I think the ability to step away and come back, the energy and the focus, the urgency, that’s always heightened. It gives a chance for the coaching staff to put more into the upcoming game. I would say those are the three biggest factors for any football team, not just ours.”
McCarthy said Matthews was fine after practicing in full on Thursday, as was Burnett, who took part in the Wednesday and Thursday practices before the season opener but then couldn’t go that Friday and hasn’t played since.
“Everything looks good with Clay Matthews. I fully expect him to play. I have no reason not to believe he’s not ready to go,” McCarthy said. “Morgan Burnett looked good. Coming off the field (Thursday), I thought it was one of our better padded practices. … I think you have to look at Morgan and the comfort and confidence and the communication you have back there. I thought he had a good week.”
McCarthy wouldn’t say whether Lacy or Franklin will start at running back or how snaps would be split up. Sorry, fantasy footballers.
”I look at Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin both as three-down backs. How the reps sort out, the way the game unfolds, that’s why you play the game,” McCarthy said. “But I view both those guys as three-down backs.”
Meanwhile, in Detroit, Houston returned to practice Friday after missing Wednesday and Thursday. The Lions’ top cover corner, Houston has been complimented multiple times by Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, although he told Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free-Press that Rodgers won’t get any favors for being so nice.
“That’s a big compliment, but he’s one of those quarterbacks where he’s still going to try you. I look on film, and he’s going at other cornerbacks that he may know where they are on the field. So I know he’s going to try me,” Houston said. “That (compliment) maybe was just kind of to soften me up a little bit, so I ain’t going for that because I know if I’m over there and Jordy Nelson’s over there, I know the rock is coming over there.”
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