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Allen Park — At some point between Sunday's game and Monday's media availability, the Lions decided they would keep everyone in the dark about quarterback Matthew Stafford's availability for the home opener against the Denver Broncos Sunday night at Ford Field.

The common refrain from both Stafford — on his WJR-AM and Channel 2 appearances — and coach Jim Caldwell — during his Monday news conference — was a short "we'll see."

"We'll see," Caldwell said. "He's very, very sore. There's no question about that. He got hit far too many times."

Regardless of what the coach and quarterback say, Stafford's teammates expect him to be on the field. He led the team's walkthrough on Monday, too, which is a good sign.

Another good sign is ESPN's report during halftime of "Monday Night Football" that Stafford has bruised ribs, which sounds better than broken. Caldwell and Stafford declined to provide the results of his Sunday X-rays on Monday.

"We expect our gun to go, and then we react to what happens after that when things don't go well," cornerback Rashean Mathis said. "He's our franchise quarterback. He's a tough guy. You don't invest that type of money or trust in someone who's not.

"He's the franchise, so you always expect your franchise to be ready to play at all costs if he can."

If he can, though, remains to be seen. Stafford moved around the locker room much better Monday than after the game Sunday. He still had a bandage on the bottom side of his left elbow and gingerly used his right arm to open a sliding refrigerator.

Caldwell and Stafford declined to provide the results of the X-rays Monday.

"There were a couple times he got in the huddle and he could barely speak the play — that's how much pain he was in," wide receiver Golden Tate said Monday. "He fought through it. He seems to be OK right now, in high spirits and ready to get back to work. That's what you have to love about him."

In the locker room, Stafford declined questions from reporters, instead telling them to wait for answers until his news conference Wednesday. It's only Monday, so he has time to recover and will surely play if cleared by doctors.

"We'll see," Stafford said on Channel 2. "It's a long week, got a lot of time to heal up and feel better."

Stafford officially suffered eight hits in a 26-16 loss to the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday in Minneapolis. He also took a couple of hard hits after fleeing the backfield to run the ball.

Stafford has started 66 straight regular-season games and hasn't missed one since 2010. All of the questions about his fragility his first two years have gone away, and his teammates lauded him for being tough after Sunday's game.

"He's sore, I can tell you that," Caldwell said. "It was a tough day for him yesterday, but we'll see where he is as the week goes on."

The first injury report comes out Wednesday, and the Lions will have to list multiple ailments if they exist. Any decision related to Stafford resting would come from the team's doctors, not the coaches or players, Caldwell said.

Although it was a poor day for the offensive line, particularly tackles Riley Reiff and Cornelius Lucas, Caldwell said the protection issues fall on everyone on the offense. Receivers could have run better routes, tight ends and running backs could have assisted in pass protection more and Stafford could have made better pre-play adjustments.

If Stafford is truly in danger of missing time, the Lions could promote Ricky Stanzi from the practice squad as an option behind backup Dan Orlovsky. The Lions could look for another veteran free-agent quarterback, too.

jkatzenstein@detroitnews.com

twitter.com/jkatzenstein

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