Stafford is continuing to recover from a back injury which is costing him time, but according to former NFL doctor David J. Chao, a return could be in order very soon in the next couple of weeks.
Chao took to Twitter to explain that Stafford’s season is not done. Far from it, in fact. He believes Stafford could start in another few weeks, possibly even by Thanksgiving Day or sooner.
Detroit plays the Washington Redskins next week, then the Chicago Bears the Thursday after on Thanksgiving. If Stafford is cleared for Sunday, it’s possible he could play Thursday as well. Either that, or the Lions could prefer to squeeze out one more week before starting him for Thanksgiving.
Matthew Stafford’s Initial Timetable
After Stafford was revealed to be sidelined with the ailment, ESPN’s Adam Schefter explained that while the injury could be shorter term in nature, the likelihood is that it would be a week by week thing the Lions would have to watch. Here’s a look at what he wrote:
“Stafford is now considered week-to-week with an injury that one source said could sideline him for “this week or 3 weeks.” Stafford had started 136 consecutive regular-season games entering Sunday, the sixth-longest streak for a quarterback in NFL history.”
Before the injury, Stafford was rolling along and having an MVP caliber season. Safe to say that all of this puts a major damper on that, no matter how much time Stafford is to miss. Stafford is a warrior however, and has never been shy about trying to play in the past through the pain.
Previously, Chao had said after looking at video of the purported injury, what Stafford is facing is a short term painful injury. Still, it’s not something which is long term, nor has any immediate impacts on the spinal cord. That’s good news not simply for Stafford the player, but Stafford the person.
Obviously, the major hurdle for him moving forward will be finding a way to get cleared by the medical staff for any type of return in the month of November with this news.
If Chao’s latest diagnosis is correct, Stafford could be on track for a return which could make this diagnosis look correct.
Matthew Stafford’s Injury
Listed on the report with a hip and back ailment, Stafford picked up the back injury while playing the Oakland Raiders. The hip trouble had been lingering since the Kansas City game, but Stafford had found a way to play through the pain of that, and was actually looking better on the injury report in the weeks since. The back injury limited him in practice most of the week leading up to the Chicago game, casting doubt on whether he’d actually play. Reports in the hours before hinted Stafford could be in trouble, and the decision was quickly made to sit him down on Sunday morning ahead of the game against the Bears.
Late last season, Stafford dealt with broken bones in his back as well and played through the pain, and the back injury in consecutive seasons has become a troubling trend for the quarterback. With the Lions depending on Stafford in not just the present but the future, they will have to be careful about how they proceed in this case.
For right now, though, he could be a safer bet to return to Detroit sooner rather than later.