Lions Make Decision on Matthew Stafford’s 2019 Return

Matthew Stafford

Getty Matthew Stafford prior to a game vs. Tampa Bay.

The Detroit Lions have been battling through a miserable injury plagued finish to 2019, and another shoe dropped on Tuesday afternoon with news that Matthew Stafford was hitting injured reserve.

Stafford has been out since early November with a back injury. Instead of rushing him back, the Lions elected to play out the string. Now, they revealed they would essentially be ending his season.

Stafford, when healthy in 2019, looked like a potential MVP candidate. He posted 2,499 yards and 19 touchdowns to just 5 interceptions. Stafford looked comfortable in Darrell Bevell’s offensive scheme, and the hope will be he can return healthy in 2020 and pick up where he left off.

For now, there is no worries about Stafford playing out the string in meaningless games.

Matthew Stafford Was Mum on Return

This past week, Stafford was gathering at the S.A.Y. Detroit Radiothon and was grabbed for a quick comment by Brad Galli of WXYZ Detroit. Galli asked Stafford what it has been like to deal with such an injury, and Stafford admitted it’s been frustrating, but quality events have kept him engaged.

“It’s been tough, but being able to be involved with things like this helps keep me sane. I also have great teammates and great coaches helping me along the way as well,” he admitted.

As for a return before 2019 is out, Stafford wouldn’t make any promises, and continued to say that things are as week to week as they have always been as he has dealt with the injury.

“We’ll see. It’s kind of a week to week thing and we’ll take it as that,” he said.

Smart money remained on the Lions keeping Stafford on the sidelines, especially with little to play for the rest of the way. There was no sense risking further injury over a lost season, and the Lions didn’t do it when all was said and done.

Matthew Stafford’s Initial Timetable

After Stafford was revealed to be sidelined with the ailment in early November, 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.

The extra rest at the end of the season will now benefit him.

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 knew they would have to be careful about how they proceeded in this case.

Now, Stafford’s 2019 season is officially and mercifully over.

READ NEXT: Lions Reveal Futures of Matt Patricia, Bob Quinn