Lions play waiting game with injuries to Matthew Stafford, Frank Ragnow

John Niyo
The Detroit News

Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford will miss practice again Thursday as he rests a painful rib cartilage injury suffered late in Sunday’s loss to Green Bay.

But while interim coach Darrell Bevell had no update about Stafford’s availability for this week’s game at Tennessee – he said Wednesday he’s "totally comfortable" with Stafford playing even if he doesn’t practice all week – he added there has been no discussions about shutting Stafford down for the season with three games remaining and playoff hopes all but extinguished.

“That has not been talked about yet,” Bevell said.

Lions' Matthew Stafford gets sacked by Packers' Dean Lowry In the second quarter.

The Lions also are playing a waiting game with center Frank Ragnow, who suffered fractured cartilage in his throat after taking a hit to his neck area early in the Packers game.

Bevell said Ragnow is under strict orders not to talk, at least until Friday, following consultations between the third-year center, team doctors and specialists the last few days.

 “The initial concern was all the trauma that he had to it,” Bevell said. “After seeing more specialists throughout yesterday, they’ve basically brought it to it’s more of the vocal cord injury. So they’re having him rest his voice. … 

“Yesterday, no words spoken. Today, no words spoken. And he’s not supposed to talk through Friday and then we’ll be able to reevaluate it.”

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Ragnow played through the injury against Green Bay, as doctors cleared him to continue because he wasn’t experiencing any issues with breathing or swallowing. The center, who is having a Pro Bowl-caliber season, didn’t miss a snap and didn’t allow any quarterback pressures. But he made it clear to both Stafford and backup quarterback Chase Daniel, who entered the game as an injury replacement in the fourth quarter, that he wasn’t able to make the line calls. 

“No one had any idea,” Daniel said. “We just knew, for most of the game, the dude couldn’t talk. … It was funny at the time. It’s not funny now, because it’s a serious injury.”

Still, Bevell said Ragnow is in good spirits, participating in meetings with the rest of the offensive line and mastering the art of non-verbal communication.

“You can imagine what it’s like in here, right?” Bevell said, smiling. “Everybody knows he’s not supposed to talk, so they’re all trying to get him to say something. Every way he can, he’s communicating. Shake the head, thumbs up, that kind of stuff. We have had him write some stuff down, to make sure we’re passing back and forth what (information) we need to.”

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If Ragnow is unable to play Sunday, the Lions likely would turn to Joe Dahl at the center position, or possibly shuffling Jonah Jackson from guard to center and having Dahl fill in at guard.

“I think right now it’s just important for us to wait until Friday to see how he progresses,” Bevell said. “We really can’t make a statement on whether he’s gonna play or not. That’s gonna be up to the medical professionals and the specialists to tell us if he can do that.”