Matthew Stafford returned to practice for the first time—other than during a walkthrough on Monday—since injuring his middle finger on his throwing hand in the first quarter of the game against the Chicago Bears. All eyes were on what Stafford would be sporting on his right hand and how he threw the ball. We got a glimpse into that on Wednesday afternoon.
Stafford was wearing a one-finger glove, almost like a biker’s glove, during Detroit’s indoor practice on Wednesday. Here’s a look:
Here's a look at the glove Matt Stafford is practicing with, has no fingers except for extra support on bottom middle pic.twitter.com/RhRtZyWXWD— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) December 14, 2016
As Dave Birkett notes, this glove allows Stafford’s four other fingers to freely grip the ball, but gives extra support to that injured finger. This is much different than Stafford’s 2011 injury that had him sporting a full glove for the remainder of his season.
This isn’t necessarily the setup that Stafford will have on Sunday, though. Before practice, the Lions quarterback met with the media and said that he had not decided on a support mechanism for his hand yet. “Still kind of working on it,” Stafford said on Wednesday morning. “Figuring out what’s going to be best come Sunday.”
As for how well he was able to throw, several beat reporters noted that he was throwing the ball completely fine during the portion of practice open to the media.
I don't see a huge difference with Matthew Stafford in the 1-fingered glove. Saw him throw 40 yards without issue.— Kyle Meinke (@kmeinke) December 14, 2016
He looked fine throwing the ball to me.— Tim Twentyman (@ttwentyman) December 14, 2016
Looked fine throwing in practice today https://t.co/ZFAfW2aa4R— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) December 14, 2016
If you want to see for yourself, ESPN’s Michael Rothstein has a short video of Stafford passing, though he’s not putting a lot on any of those throws.
All of this news seems very promising for Stafford. Though his availability for Sunday is not even a question, many have expressed concern over how much he will be limited by his injury. This glove does not seem very invasive to the throwing process and the fact that Stafford is throwing 40-yard passes with no problem is a definite positive sign. We’ll see if this continues throughout the week.
UPDATE: Former Chargers head doctor, David Chao—who we talked about earlier in the week—thinks this is great news for Stafford:
Support on dorsal (back of hand/finger) side.— David J. Chao, MD (@ProFootballDoc) December 14, 2016
Allows for grip on ventral (palm) side.#MatthewStafford will play with minimal limitation. https://t.co/E3RFgNzkKG