For the first time all season, Matthew Stafford missed a few offensive snaps on Sunday. After getting his hand stepped on late in the game in Baltimore, Stafford immediately went into the locker room with his hand covered and his face showing the pain.
Thankfully, x-rays cleared him of any fractures, but considering the hefty bandage around his hand in the locker room, it was clear this was still a pretty serious injury.
On Monday, it looked a little better. The bandage was off, but Stafford still had three fingers on his throwing hand wrapped. On Wednesday, head coach Jim Caldwell offered an update in the only way that Caldwell can: vaguely.
“He’s not out of the woods yet,” Caldwell said regarding Stafford’s availability this week. “We’ll see what he can do as the week goes on. It’s not like it’s some insignificant injury.”
That’s not exactly the kind of promising update this team needs as they’re clinging to playoff hopes. Backup quarterback Jake Rudock saw his first NFL action last week and promptly threw a pick-six on his fifth career pass.
Stafford has not missed a start since his sophomore year in 2010. He currently holds a 108-game streak of consecutive starts. That number trails only Philip Rivers and Matt Ryan among active streaks for quarterbacks. Eli Manning saw his streak of 210 consecutive games end last week when the Giants benched him in favor of Geno Smith.
But Caldwell did provide a little bit of optimism. “It’s progressing in the right direction,” Caldwell said.
Stafford has played through injuries to his throwing hand in the past. In 2011, Stafford notoriously played through a fractured right finger, wearing a glove to help support the injury. And just last year, he dealt with dislocated fingers and torn ligaments on his throwing hand, and played through it in the final three and a half games of the regular season.
While that should bring some optimism towards his availability, it’s clear from Caldwell’s words that nothing is certain at this point. “Often times he comes through, but, like I said, this one is going to take a little work.”
The Lions have their first practice of the week on Wednesday. We should know more when the injury report comes out.
UPDATE: Stafford didn’t provide much in updates during his press conference and said he didn’t know if he would practice on Wednesday:
Matthew Stafford said the feeling has come back in his hand from the initial numbness and nerve-ending feelings. ... Says he's not sure if he's going to practice today.— Michael Rothstein (@mikerothstein) December 6, 2017
Stafford also hid his hand in the front pocket of his hoodie, so reporters couldn’t see what it looked like. However, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press had a promising update:
Stafford, by the way, does not have his ring, index and pinky fingers taped at his news conference today, he had those fingers wrapped up individually on Monday. https://t.co/ZfPgWQaEhX— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) December 6, 2017