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The Lion tamer is ready

by Mark Daniels

The Packers could have their expected opening day starting lineup on defense on the field Sunday against the Detroit Lions, in week number five.  Morgan Burnett has tried before to loosen up his pulled hamstring, only to be deactivated on game days.   Clay Matthews is no stranger to hamstring injuries either.  It's been almost a chronic issue since his rookie year.  When he pulled it again in the first half against Cincinnati two weeks ago, there were fears it might be another month off or more as was the case last season.  But after the bye week off, Matthews returned to practice on a limited basis Wednesday and today, was a full participant and it looks like all systems are go.   Matthews is easily the most disruptive playmaker on the defensive side of the ball but Burnett's absence as the quarterback of the unit at his safety position has really hurt.  Better late than never but the starting 11 the Packers were hoping to take the field against the 49ers, should open the game sunday against Detroit.  Reporters caught up with Matthews after practice and he said it should be all systems go:

Audio:  Clay Matthews.

The rest of Thursday's injury report looked like this:  Casey Hayward (hamstring), James Starks (knee) and Greg VanRoten (foot) are all out.   Hayward however, donned pads at today's practice and took part in a couple of individual drills.  Considering he's been out since early in training camp, it was tangible progress.  Everyone else on the list was a full participant and is almost certain to suit up.  That includes Burnett, Jarrett Bush and John Kuhn with the ever popular hamstring, Jermichael Finley and Eddie Lacy with concussions and Johnathan Franklin with a foot injury.  

We'll break down the matchup and offer up a prediction on Friday.