WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUND-UP: Matthews may be out a month with broken thumb
GREEN BAY - Various media reports say Green Bay Packers' linebacker Clay Matthews would need surgery on a thumb he broke in Sunday's home win over Detroit. ESPN said Matthews would be out for a month.
Packers' Head Coach Mike McCarthy did not give a time frame during his news conference yesterday. He said every hand injury is different, depending on the bones involved -- and the coach said he hopes it would not end Matthews' season. He was hurt while sacking Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford at the end of the third quarter. Matthews injured a hamstring September 22nd at Cincinnati, which did not appear to bother him this past Sunday. Defensive coordinator Dom Capers said it's encouraging that Mike Neal is making good strides at outside linebacker, moving from his old defensive end spot. Capers said Neal and second-year linebacker Nick Perry both played their best games against the Lions -- and they'll need to be ready on Sunday, when the Packers play at Baltimore. Perry had two sacks against the Lions, and Neal one. Green Bay has 12 sacks this season, three of which have come from Matthews.
The Packers signed corner James Nixon to their 53-man roster yesterday. He was promoted from the practice squad, after linebacker Robert Francois was put on season-ending injured reserve with a torn Achilles tendon suffered in Sunday's win over Detroit. Nixon has spent parts of the last two seasons on the Green Bay practice squad. He becomes the seventh corner on the roster. The Packers remain thin at inside linebacker at the moment. Starter Brad Jones' playing status is still uncertain, after he injured a hamstring against the Lions. Francois was Jones' replacement. Third-year pro Jamari Lattimore replaced Francois and had a tackle. Lattimore could get a start at Baltimore on Sunday if Jones cannot return. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel said the Packers tried out former Wisconsin linebacker Mike Taylor yesterday, but did not sign him. It was Taylor's first tryout with an NFL team. He had sports hernia surgery in January and March.
If fans could make roster moves, Matt Flynn might be a Packer today. The social media circuit favored Flynn's return to the green-and-gold, soon after the Oakland Raiders cut him early yesterday afternoon. Coach Mike McCarthy says it's not happening. He said he's happy with quote, "the quarterback room, the way it looks, the people in it" -- which means that 11-year veteran Seneca Wallace will continue to be the lone backup for Aaron Rodgers. McCarthy he likes Wallace and what he's done since signing with the Packers at the end of Training Camp. Quarterbacks' coach Ben McAdoo recently called Wallace a smart and experience player who knows his role, and is a good team player. Flynn racked up 480 yards and six touchdown passes in his only full regular season game with the Packers in the 2011 finale against Detroit. He then left for Seattle, where he lost out on the starting job to rookie Russell Wilson. Last spring, Flynn was traded to Oakland, where he failed to beat out Terrelle Pryor.
The Green Bay Packer players are taking their normal Tuesday off. They'll start practicing tomorrow for their Sunday road contest against the Super Bowl champion Ravens in Baltimore. The Packers are 0-2 away from Lambeau Field, after falling at San Francisco in Week-One and at Cincinnati in Week-Three. Green Bay is 2-2 overall. They'll face a Baltimore squad that's 3-2 after winning its first road game at Miami, 26-23. Ravens' receiver Jacoby Jones has not played since Opening Day with a knee injury. He's expected to practice this week, and he could get some limited playing time against the Packers.
University of Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon is chomping at the bit to return, after having his worst game of the season at Ohio State a week-and-a-half ago. Gordon went into that contest as the nation's top rusher with 156 yards per game. He had 74 against the Buckeyes, and he sat out the fourth quarter with a minor knee injury. Gordon said fourth-ranked Ohio State was faster than any team Wisconsin had played all year -- which is what he expected. He said it was part of his motivation this year to do well against the Buckeyes, and it quote, "killed me" to sit out the final quarter. Gordon returned to health after the Badgers' bye week. He's expected to practice fully this week, and be ready when Wisconsin hosts No. 19 Northwestern on Saturday for Homecoming. Several other injured Badgers also benefited from the bye. Tight end Jacob Pedersen, center Dallas Lewallen, and receiver Kenzel Doe are also expected to return healthy for the Northwestern game.
In the new AP state high school football poll, Mequon Homestead continues to lead the large schools -- just like it has all season. Kimberly is second, followed by Hartland Arrowhead and Sun Prairie. West De Pere has led the medium-sized schools all season, and this week is no exception. Waupaca is second, Walworth Big Foot third, and Appleton Xavier fourth. Fond du Lac St. Mary's Springs is first among the small schools, followed by Lancaster, Shiocton, and Stanley-Boyd.
Milwaukee Bucks' coach Larry Drew says his team may look "a little raggedy" tonight when it plays at Cleveland. It's the Bucks' exhibition opener, just a week after they started their Training Camp. It's the first real chance for 11 new Milwaukee players and four holdovers to build a little chemistry on the floor. For Drew, it will be his unofficial coaching debut with Milwaukee after three seasons as the head man in Atlanta. Drew says everybody will get at least some playing time during the Bucks' seven exhibition contests -- but probably not everybody in one game. Four Milwaukee players expect to be out with injuries this evening -- Carlos Delfino, Zaza Pachulia, Epke Udoh, and Khris Middleton.
Concordia-Mequon has won its second straight Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference women's golf title. The Falcons shot a combined 926 for 45 holes at Trappers' Turn in Wisconsin Dells, to win their fourth league crown in the last five years. Northwestern Coillege of Roseville, Minnesota placed second, 18 strokes back. Aurora was third, and Marian fourth. Saturday's first round was shortened to nine holes due to rain. Standard 18-hole rounds were played Sunday and yesterday. Nina Puch of Concordia-Mequon won the individual competition at 25-over-par 205. She was also named the league's player-of-the-year. Finni Simko of Lakeland was named the freshman-of-the-year, and Billy Aune of Northwestern received coach-of-the-year honors. By winning the tournament, Concordia-Mequon earned the NACC's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III tourney next spring. Also heading to the nationals are Grinnell, who won its first Midwest Conference crown -- and UW-Eau Claire, which captured the WIAC crown during the weekend.
Andy Paider of Lawrence University in Appleton has been named the defensive football player-of-the-week in the Midwest Conference. Paider, a senior linebacker, had two sacks and a career-high total of seven tackles for losses in a game against Illinois College. The tackles behind the line of scrimmage were the most in the league so far this season. Illinois College running back Cecil Brimmage is the honored player on offense. Bryce Jones of Lake Forest received the weekly honors for special teams. In women's soccer, Waukesha native Holly Lesperance of Lake Forest was named the week's top player on offense. Lesperance, a sophomore, scored four times for Lake Forest against Ripon College last Saturday.