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Clay Matthews Out, Carlos Rogers Question Mark For 49ers And Packers Playoff Showdown

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GREEN BAY, WI - NOVEMBER 24: Clay Matthews #52 of the Green Bay Packers rushes against the Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau Field on November 24, 2013 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Vikings and the Packers tied 26-26 after overtime.(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

(Credit, Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

By Jerrell Richardson

The injury report for the 49ers inexplicably continues to get smaller as the season progresses. This week has but a few namesand there is a very good chance that all of them can play—but the reality is that the San Francisco secondary is not going to be 100 percent. This is the one area where the team can’t afford to have any concerns as they prepare to face a very dangerous Green Bay passing attack.

Cornerback Carlos Rogers, who was injured in Week 17, has sat out of all practices this week while resting his injured hamstring. Rogers has been an anchor in the San Francisco secondarystarting every game for the past three seasonsand will obviously be missed if unable to play. While he has not been ruled out, and the injury has been described as “not as bad as the team originally thought,” his status remains unknown. Even if he does play, the bigger questionwhich figures to be answered sooner than lateris with a bad hamstring, can Rogers cover Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson?

Plenty Of Options

If needed, the 49ers have a few options to replace Rogers, and the most likely choice is Eric Wright. While Wright is also dealing with a hamstring injury that limited his practice time Thursday, he appears healthy enough to play, and talent-wise he is comparable to Rogers. In the worst case scenario that neither is able to play, Tarell Brown, who was a starter this season, and Perish Cox, who the team just signed, are both available.  

Healthy 49ers Team

There are no other significant 49er injuries. The team placed Mario Manningham on the injured reserved earlier this week, ending Manningham’s season, but this is no crushing blow. The wide out has played well when on the field, but overall has been a major disappointment. This season he had only nine catches for 85 yards so production wise, San Francisco will be fine.

The rest of the 49ers listed are either the veterans resting their bodies (Justin Smith and Frank Gore) for what they know will be a physical post season push, or players (NaVorro Bowman, Mike Iupati, Dan Skuta and Tarell Brown) who have all played well through their various injuries in recent weeks.

San Francisco 49ers

Did Not Participate In Practice

  • Carlos Rogers (Cornerback): Hamstring

Limited In Practice

  • Dan Skuta (Linebacker): Foot
  • Eric Wright (Cornerback): Hamstring

Full Participation In Practice

  • Jon Baldwin (Wide Receiver): Illness
  • Justin Smith (Defensive Tackle): Shoulder
  • Frank Gore (Running Back): Knee
  • NaVorro Bowman (Linebacker): Wrist
  • Tarell Brown (Cornerback): Ribs
  • Mike Iupati (Guard): Knee

Packers Defense Faces Big Challenge without Matthews

The fact that Clay Matthews will not play this week is huge. The Green Bay defense will take on a San Francisco offense that has moved the ball almost at will against them, and will have to do it without (arguably) their best defensive player. Matthews led the team in sacks and forced fumbles during the regular season. He figured to play a big role in keeping Colin Kaepernick in the pocket and under wraps. Matthew is not the type of player the Packers can replacetalent or playmaking-wiseon the fieldand Green Bay will need to find a way to get it done without him.

As if it were not bad enough that the Green Bay defense is without Matthews, most of the Packers defensive front is dealing with something. Starting left outside linebacker Nick Perry has a foot injury that held him out of Wednesday’s practice and limited him in Thursday’s, while Brad Jones, the starting inside linebacker and starting nose tackle,and  Ryan Picket were both limited in practice as well. Add all this together and you get a very vulnerable run defense that could have problems putting pressure on Kaepernick. Green Bay has dealt with injuries all year and will not be lost, but all signs point to a long day for the Packers defense.

Green Bay Packers

Did Not Participate In Practice

  • Clay Matthews (Linebacker): Thumb

Limited In Practice

  • Mike Neal (Defensive End): Abdomen
  • Nick Perry (Linebacker): Foot
  • Brad Jones (Linebacker): Ankle
  • Eddie Lacy (Running back): Ankle
  • Ryan Pickett (Defensive Tackle): Knee

For more 49ers news and updates, visit 49ers Central.

Jerrell Richardson is a Bay Area native who due to a college career at San Diego State University has grown an appreciation for all things sports related in California. His heart will always remain in San Francisco though where he currently resides and covers everything from the San Francisco 49ers and Giants to the San Jose Sharks and California Bears Baseball team. Jerrell is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.

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