Stafford mum on status, but ‘I feel pretty good’
Allen Park — Injured Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford practiced Wednesday but didn’t provide any further insight into whether he will play in Sunday night’s game against the Broncos at Ford Field.
Stafford, who was hurt in last week’s loss at Minnesota, had X-rays on his chest and ribs following the game and has had treatments this week but didn’t disclose whether he’ll be ready for Sunday’s prime-time game against Peyton Manning and Denver.
During the portion of practice open to the media, Stafford did all his normal throws and didn’t show any signs of distress. Stafford has played in 66 straight regular-season games, after playing in only 13 games in his first two seasons.
“I feel pretty good and I’m sure you guys will find (my status) out after coach releases the post-practice report,” Stafford said Wednesday morning, a couple hours ahead of the afternoon practice.
Stafford didn’t disclose on which play in the Vikings games that his ribs were injured, but it appeared to be on the third offensive snap, when he took a big hit. He played the remainder of the game, but didn’t have any completions downfield beyond 20 yards.
He was hurried eight times and was sacked once but finished 32-of-53 for 286 yards, with two touchdowns and an interception.
After a couple days to get therapy, Stafford said he’s feeling better but is following the medical staff’s plan to help him get ready for this week.
“Any time you have time to recover after a game, you’re going to have opportunities to get in there in the treatment room and find a way to try and feel a little bit better,” he said. “(I’m) just doing everything that the doctors tell me to do. Just your run-of-the-mill treatment-type stuff.”
When asked if he had a serious injury, Stafford referred the question to coach Jim Caldwell.
Caldwell declined giving many details about Stafford’s status, instead deferring to the injury report due later Thursday afternoon.
“I’m probably not going to give you any evaluation,” Caldwell said. “It’s more important what the doctors think than what I think.”
On Monday, Caldwell declined comment on whether the Lions might need to look at signing another quarterback to the roster in case Stafford was unable to play. He said Wednesday, though, that they might look at having two game plans, in case backup Dan Orlovsky were pushed into action.
“Yeah, we have to adjust. We have to adjust because all of our guys that play different positions have different strengths and we have to play to those strengths,” Caldwell said. “We have to make adjustments from a schematic standpoint; we have to make adjustments to it in terms of the plays we run, those kinds of things. So yes, there are adjustments to be made.”
With the uncertainty about Stafford’s status, the he plans likely already had been in place, in case he might not play.
“If we’re just now talking about preparing them, then we’re too late. I’ll put it that way,” Caldwell said.
Stafford notably played through an injury against the Browns a few years ago and led the Lions to a late victory in 2009, but he didn’t rule out playing through an injury and gutting his way through.
“Yeah, I love playing. I love playing football. I love being out there on Sundays. I take in being able to get out there no matter how I’m feeling, so we’ll see,” he said. “If that situation arises I guess you guys will just find out my reaction then, I couldn’t’ tell you right now how it would go.”
Seeing Stafford take so many hits and being battered around is tough for receiver Calvin Johnson, but the way that Stafford has persevered has been a motivation for his teammates. While they don't want to see him injured, they admire Stafford for finishing the game while he's not 100 percent.
"One thing I know it does for everybody is it makes you want to work harder for the guy," Johnson said. "You don’t want to see him taking hits, so we’re going to work a little bit harder whether it’s to get open faster or to hold on to that block a little longer.”