Matthew Stafford finished Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers hobbled, bleeding and shook up. Both Stafford and the Detroit Lions refused to go into any specifics regarding his injury or his availability for the upcoming game against the New Orleans Saints.
However, former NFL doctor David J. Chao offered some insight into Stafford’s ailments on Monday morning and doesn’t believe the Lions quarterback will miss any time.
Chao’s analysis is based on watching the footage of the injuries and how Stafford responded when playing through the injuries. According to Chao, there are two injuries here to consider: a muscle strain in his right thigh and a right ankle sprain.
Chao explained in an article for the San Diego Union-Tribune:
While there was no defined injury via video, he came out in the first series of the fourth quarter and had his thigh wrapped on the right, consistent with a muscle strain.
Also, midway through the fourth quarter, Carolina’s Kawaan [sic] Short rolled onto Stafford’s right ankle on a sack from behind. By video, it appears Stafford suffered a mild high ankle sprain as the defender landed on the back of Stafford’s ankle.
While diagnosing via only video and no actual physical examination is not an exact science, Chao has plenty of experience in the field and has thrived in his new role as “Twitter doctor.” During last night’s “Sunday Night Football” game, Chao correctly diagnosed J.J. Watt’s season-ending injury before it was officially released to the public, based solely on broadcast replays.
As for what this means for Stafford, Chao says based on Stafford’s movement, he shouldn’t miss this week’s game, but he could be noticeably limited. “His injury could affect the offense in that he might be in more shotgun formations,” Chao said. “And it could affect his mobility in the pocket and accuracy on deeper downfield throws.”
Chao admits, however, that the ankle sprain could be more severe depending on how much swelling Stafford is dealing with on Monday. If Stafford is forced into a walking boot, the sprain could be more severe and result in a more serious diagnosis.
That being said, he concludes that Stafford should be ready to go this week and could be fully cleared after the bye week:
But the severity of the injury and Stafford’s value to the Lions will likely have him active against the Saints with the opportunity to rest the next week during a bye and return to 100 percent.
Let’s hope Chao is right on this one, too.