Clay Matthews dedicated himself this offseason to ensuring that he can have a healthy 2011 after some speed bumps a year ago.
A badly pulled hamstring muscle wiped out the preseason and much of training camp for him last summer. Then, in something that was just revealed in a terrific story by Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette, the Packers outside linebacker played last season with a broken leg.
Yes, Matthews had a stress fracture in his lower leg that he played on after Week 9 and led the team to list him on the injury report every week with a shin issue. Matthews still racked up 13 ½ sacks and had 3 ½ more in the postseason as the NFL’s runner-up for defensive player of the year honors.
“I don’t make a big deal of it,” Matthews said. “(It happened) some time in the middle of the season. You can’t do anything about it. I was just taking practices off and showing up on game day and giving it my all.
“This offseason, I put an emphasis on really coming in here in great cardio shape and make sure I had done everything that I possibly could to say, ‘Hey, this is how we’re going to prevent injuries,’” Matthews said. “That’s the nature of the beast. You’re going to get injured in this game, but I feel good. I feel good about where I’m at headed into my third year and feel like I can definitely outdo what I’ve put on paper and on film the last two years.”
It will be interesting to see what kind of numbers Matthews can achieve if he is healthy all year long.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune
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