clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Did Matthew Stafford play with a broken back in 2018?

One report suggests Stafford played through considerable pain down the stretch of the 2018 season.

Los Angeles Rams v Detroit Lions Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Matthew Stafford is no stranger to playing through injury. In fact, the most iconic moment of his 10-year career is when he weaved his way through trainers moments after separating his shoulder to throw the game-winning touchdown in a meaningless game against the Cleveland Browns.

So it probably will come as little surprise that Matthew Stafford may have played through broken bones in his back last year.

The report comes from’s Mike O’Hara on his weekly podcast with WJR host Ken Brown. As the two were discussing the importance of a quality backup quarterback, O’Hara let this little nugget slip about Stafford.

“As it turned out, he had a broken back last year—broken bones in his back,” O’Hara said.

What followed after O’Hara said that is a little confusing. Brown asked O’Hara if he was supposed to say that, perhaps revealing injury information that wasn’t supposed to be public. O’Hara believed he wasn’t saying anything that wasn’t already out there.

“It’s been reported,” O’Hara said. “No, I read that. Word gets out in the National Football League.”

As far as I can tell, however, I have not seen that reported anywhere. So it’s unclear if O’Hara let a bit of news slip or if he simply misremembered a report on the severity of Stafford’s back injury.

Here’s what we do know. Stafford suffered a pretty serious back injury against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 13. The injury was so bad that he had to skip his typical media session because of rehab and was limited in practice for three straight weeks.

Over that three-week period in which he was listed as questionable for each game, Stafford went 55-for-84 for 425 yards, 1 touchdown and zero interceptions. Of course, by then the Lions had already traded Golden Tate and Marvin Jones Jr. was out for the season. Detroit went 1-2 over that stretch.

Regardless of the exact diagnosis of Stafford’s injury, it’s clear he was playing through some serious pain. But that’s nothing new for the Lions franchise quarterback.

Subscribe to PODD

After winning their first NFC North title in 30 years, the Lions have unfinished business this offseason. Stay updated with Jeremy Reisman through Pride of Detroit Direct, our newsletter offering up exclusive analysis. Sign up with NFCNORTH30 to get 30% off after your free trial.