Matthew Stafford's rookie season has come to a close a couple weeks early because he has been placed on injured reserve. The Lions announced today that he needs surgery and will be flying down to Alabama next week to meet with Dr. James Andrews. Here's the interesting thing: Stafford doesn't need surgery on his injured shoulder, but rather his injured knee. It doesn't appear to be anything major, but apparently his shoulder was likely going to keep him out even next week against Chicago, so the coaches decided to shut him down for the season to go ahead and get this knee surgery taken care of.
"Since he's had (the injury), he's had just on and off swelling, stuff he's been able to play through," Schwartz said. "But it's also something we knew we needed to address after the season."
"It's not a repair, it's not anything other than cleanup," Schwartz said of the knee operation. "Because it's irritated and there's probably some little chunks in there that caused some swelling. And the one thing you want to do is you want to put that behind you. You don't want to have to manage that in the spring. ... And this is a procedure that our doctors and everybody associated with it anticipate him actually walking out of the operating room."
I guess it's good to get this procedure over and done with, but this makes the outlook for the final game of the season much different. All this time I figured Stafford would return for the last game of the season and the Lions would upset Chicago to derail any chance of ending up with the top pick or a shot at Ndamukong Suh. With Stafford for sure out, though, I would be surprised if the Lions found a way to win. Anything is possible, especially with players looking to prove themselves against a team who isn't playing for anything, but I would be surprised if the Lions can win a game with either Drew Stanton or Daunte Culpepper at quarterback. Again, anything's possible; the Lions just would have had a better shot at winning with Stafford.
Losing Stafford to IR is a bit disappointing for those of us who were looking forward to seeing him play one more time this season, but I'm all for getting this surgery out of the way. Considering doctors weren't even sure if he was going to be able to play in the season finale to begin with, there really was no point to wait any longer to find out. I would rather have Stafford get the surgery as soon as he can, because like Schwartz said, you don't want this to be an issue later on. Taking care of it next week will allow Stafford to start working his way back and be ready for when minicamps roll around next year.