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Baltimore — Matthew Stafford’s throwing hand is OK.

The Detroit Lions quarterback had to leave Sunday’s 44-20 loss in the fourth quarter with a hand injury after he was accidentally stepped on by Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs.

Initially, there was concern the hand was broken and Stafford was quickly taken to the locker room for further evaluation.

“Yeah, I didn’t know,” Stafford said. “I couldn’t really feel it too well to tell you the truth. I had some burning nerve pain in there, so I didn’t know what it was going to be. X-rays were negative.”

Lions coach Jim Caldwell said the team’s medical staff labeled the injury a “nasty bruise.”

Stafford wasn’t hit often against the Ravens, but when he was, he was hit hard. He was sacked three times, raising the season total to 39.

Wide receiver Golden Tate learned Stafford’s injury wasn’t serious from reporters after the game and breathed a sigh of relief. Tate said the team must do a better job protecting the quarterback.

“My heart goes out to him,” Tate said. “There’s no better competitor than him. He’s a great leader. But, you know, when your quarterback is on the ground week in and week out, crossing your fingers gets you so far. He’s tough and he’s going to do whatever he can to be on the field, but we’ve got to protect him.”

Stafford started his 108th consecutive game this week. He missed two series at the end of the loss to the Ravens and was replaced by backup Jake Rudock. It was the first snaps Stafford has missed since Nov. 1, 2015.

Stafford played the final four games last season, including the postseason loss to Seattle, with a broken finger on the same hand.

jdrogers@detroitnews.com

twitter.com/justin_rogers

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