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Lions' Stafford expected to play against Carolina

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News

It's doubtful anyone has forgotten Matthew Stafford's tolerance for playing through pain. After all, the Detroit Lions quarterback finished the 2018 season with a broken bone in his back, and would have done it again last season if the doctors would have allowed him. 

So when Stafford was spotted getting the thumb on his throwing hand taped during the early stages of the Lions' win over the Washington Football Team, there was never any doubt he'd try to tough it out. 

And when he zipped a 27-yard touchdown pass to Marvin Jones a few minutes later, it was easy to forget the thumb was even an issue. 

Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford throws in the second quarter.

During his post-game interview, Stafford acknowledged he had some trouble gripping the ball immediately after suffering the injury. But on Monday, the NFL Network reported the X-rays came back negative, and Stafford confirmed as much in an interview with the team's play-by-play voice Dan Miller. 

"I'm going to do everything I can to be out there," Stafford told Miller for an interview with WJBK-2. "I like my chances."

Through nine games, Stafford is completing 63.7 percent of his passes for 2,403 yards, 17 touchdowns and seven interceptions. 

Panthers hurting

While it looks like the Lions will have their starting quarterback for Sunday's road game against the Carolina Panthers, it's unclear whether the opposition will be as fortunate. 

Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater suffered a knee injury in the fourth quarter this past weekend and his status for Sunday is up in the air. ESPN is reporting an MRI revealed no structural damage, but Bridgewater is dealing with both soreness and swelling. 

If he can't go, the Panthers are expected to turn to P.J. Walker, a star from the defunct XFL. In mop-up duty, he's thrown just eight passes for the Panthers this season. 

In addition to Bridgewater, the Panthers are also expected to be without All-Pro Christian McCaffrey, who is currently dealing with a shoulder injury. It's been a rough season for the dual-threat running back, who missed six games with a high ankle sprain before suffering the shoulder injury in his first game back. 

McCaffrey is coming off a season where he racked up nearly 2,400 yards from scrimmage and scored 19 touchdowns.

Patricia said the Lions will prepare this week as if the Panthers will be full strength. 

"We’ll prepare like everybody’s playing, and we’ll adjust and go from there," Patricia said. "When you have certainly two dynamic players like those guys are, you better be ready to go for them.”