Clay Matthews, the Packers top pass-rusher with nine sacks, returned to the practice field for the first time since hurting his hamstring against Arizona November 4th.
Matthews hasn't played in the last 4.5 games, and Erik Walden and Dezman Moses have the next most sacks on the team with three each.
No. 52 says it's been hard staying on the sidelines and waiting out another hamstring injury. But he hopes to return Sunday against the rival Bears.
"I'm going to throw myself in the older category here, but maybe a younger Clay would have pushed it and come back too early," Matthews said. "But you have to realize the bigger picture here. With an opportunity to clinch this thing and get into the playoffs, that's the bigger picture, to be healthy and full speed these final games and into the playoffs. Hopefully that's the case, and today was a good step."
Matthews has experienced other hamstring pulls in his time with the Packers, and while it may not be ideal returning from that injury in the cold weather, he really doesn't have a choice.
"I've pulled muscles when it's been warm out, so it's part of the deal," Matthews said. "We'll do a good job of keeping it warm, staying warm, and monitoring the situation. "Ultimately I have to be my biggest coach, and if I start to get fatigued and tired, instead of maybe pushing it maybe take myself out for a play here or there."
Other injury notes: T.J. Lang (ankle) practiced mostly at his original starting position of left guard, but neither he or head coach Mike McCarthy would say if that is permanent. Rookie Don Barlcay continued to take the reps at right tackle. Mike Neal (shoulder) returned to practice on a limited basis. McCarthy said Wednesday that CB/S Charles Woodson would be held out this week based on doctor's recommendation.