By Nick Shook
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The Packers lost Sunday’s game against the Ravens, and in the process, also lost two important defenders.
Clay Matthews Jr. exited early with a groin injury and did not return. Defensive tackle Kenny Clarksuffered an ankle injury late, a development that had his teammates heated after the game.
Clark’s ankle injury came in the earlier portion of the fourth quarter on a 2-yard run up the middle by Alex Collins. The carry caused a pile-up in the middle of the line of scrimmage, with the foundation laid on the back of Clark’s bent legs. Clark had been knocked to his knees by Ravens center Ryan Jensen, who drew the ire of Packers safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.
“No. 66, I don’t even know his name, but he’s trash,” Clinton-Dix said of Jensen, via ESPN’s Rob Demovsky. “He’s a bad player. He doesn’t play fair. This is a game that we all love to play and love to enjoy, and you never want to see a guy get hurt when you’re playing overaggressive and doing things that you shouldn’t be doing. It’s uncalled for.”
On a run on second-and-1, it is understandable for an interior lineman to keep driving and trying to win the battle at the line of scrimmage, especially when the play is designed to run off his hip. When reviewing the broadcast angle of the tape, it appears as though once Jensen realizes Clark has been landed on by a pile of players, he lets up (while stumbling) and attempts to help his opponent up. It’s at that moment when Clinton-Dix arrives and attempts to separate the two.
It’s difficult to determine intent, of course, and football isn’t a game for the meek. Clinton-Dix’s teammate wasn’t happy with the outcome, though.
“It was a play that a lot of us Packer players didn’t really like too much,” cornerback Davon House said.
Head coach Mike McCarthy didn’t elaborate on the severity of Clark’s injury after the game Sunday. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Monday that Clark suffered a sprained ankle, however, X-rays were negative. Should Clark miss time, veteran nose tackle Quinton Dial is slated to replace him.
For a Packers team that is already struggling after the injury to quarterback Aaron Rodgers, losing another valuable and promising player to what some might see as an avoidable injury is frustrating. Coming off a loss in which Green Bay was shutout doesn’t help the morale, either.