Allen Park — Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford has been sidelined a month with a back injury reported to be microfractures in the thoracic region of his spine.
Just saying it sounds scary, even career-threatening, but Stafford has been given reason to believe there's no concern of recurrence once he's medically cleared and doesn't believe the injury will shorten his career.
"Nope, I want to play for a long time," Stafford said. "I felt like I was playing really good ball this year, and it was something that was kind of a freak deal that happened and obviously have to take it in stride and listen to doctors, my body, coaches, everybody and figure out what’s best. But I was having a lot of fun playing when I was out there, wish I could be out there right now helping us win games, it’s just not the case."
Stafford was allegedly injured on a late-game scramble against the Oakland Raiders in early November. He finished that game and practiced the following week, with the expectation of playing that Sunday, until additional medical testing after Friday's practice presumably revealed the microfractures.
At the time of the injury, Stafford was arguably playing better than at any point in his 11-year career. His yards per attempt, yards per completion and passer rating were all at career-highs and he was on pace to threaten his lofty 2011 yardage and passing touchdown marks.
Stafford remains on Detroit's active roster, as coach Matt Patricia put it this week, out of respect for the quarterback's competitiveness and desire to return to the field this season. Stafford has been coy about specifics with his injury, but said he believes it's continuing to heal as it should.
Sitting out the rest of the season also remains an option.
"Whatever happens is going to be a collaborative decision," Stafford said. "I’m not smart enough to tell you exactly what’s going on and some of those doctors never played football, so it’s a collaborative decision, whenever that decision is made and whatever happens."