Lions plan to dial back Matthew Stafford's practice routine due to thumb injury
A day after the NFL Network reported Matthew Stafford had suffered a partial tear in a ligament in his throwing hand, Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia confirmed the franchise quarterback would practice this week, but likely in a limited capacity.
"Matthew Stafford is here," Patricia said. "He's going to be out at practice. I don't know how much he's going to do. We're just trying to be smart with it. Obviously, I think we all know how tough Matthew Stafford is and he's going to do everything possible (to play).
"For the most part, it's probably me just trying to slow it down through the course of the week," Patricia continued. "But sometimes he gets out there and gets competitive and likes to do what he wants to do. He knows what he can do. From that standpoint, we'll take it day by day."
Stafford attended Wednesday's practice, but didn't participate. He was seen sporting a brace on his injured thumb.
"Doing all right," Stafford said during a video conference after practice. "Just doing what I can to try to be out there. We'll see. Just trusting in what our docs say, what our trainers do to try to help me get me as good as I can."
Stafford is no stranger to playing through injuries. He's worked through previous finger injuries in 2011 and 2016, the latter contributing to the derailing of an MVP-caliber season. He believes those experiences could be helpful in his preparations this week.
"I mean, probably," Stafford said. "But they all kind of affect you differently. You know, this one obviously is no different. I just can figure out what I can and can't do throughout the week, and then we'll go from there if I can get out there."
Stafford also finished the 2018 season with a broken bone in his upper back.
"Honestly, there are so many hits that you don't see that (quarterbacks) take when the ball is thrown," Patricia said. "When you're standing back there behind it sometimes, as a coach or somebody watching, you see a guy throw a ball as hard as he can, as far as he can, be in that complete vulnerable position and then have a 300-pound grown man hit you as hard as you can. That takes a lot of courage and a lot of toughness to do that and to do that over and over and over. Matthew Stafford is one of the toughest I've ever been around."
Stafford's most recent injury occurred early in the game against Washington, when he was sacked by multiple defenders, including one who came in late and was flagged for unnecessary roughness.
After the series, Stafford got his hand taped and returned to finish one of his best performances of the season. Showing no sign of the sore thumb interfering with his ability to grip or throw the ball, he finished the day completing 24 of 33 throws for 276 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions.