Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy has revealed Pro Bowl linebacker Clay Matthews is unlikely to require surgery on his injured left shoulder.
After taking what he called a cheap shot in a game against the Philadelphia Eagles last November, Matthews suffered a separated shoulder and AC joint injury.
He played in each subsequent game despite not being able to raise his left arm over his head. Matthews, who missed four games earlier in the year because of a hamstring problem, had 24 tackles and five sacks last season, both career lows.
"I think he's out of the woods," McCarthy was quoted as saying by ESPN at the NFL Combine.
"I know there was a period of time where they were [considering surgery]. Last time we talked, [team physician Dr.] Pat McKenzie thought he was out of the woods and wasn't going to need surgery."
The Packers need Matthews to be healthy in 2017, especially with bookend pass rusher Nick Perry headed to free agency. McCarthy said Perry "is one of our guys" and Packers general manager Ted Thompson said re-signing the team's free agents is always a priority.
"That's our intention, and it's our intention every year," Thompson said on Wednesday. "I stand on this podium, I think, every year and say the same thing. Our best intention will be to sign as many of our own players as we can, and keep it together."