Lions Hope To See Stafford Later In 2010

Detroit pinning hopes on injured quarterback's ability to recoup from second injury, rejoin team.

Things could always change, but for now, the plan for quarterback Matthew Stafford is, no surgery and no injured list.

Specialist Dr. James Andrews met with Stafford in Birmingham, Ala., on Monday and he notified the Lions that he agreed with their evaluation of the right shoulder injury -- which was that rehabilitation and not surgery was the best plan for recovery.

"Dr. Andrews informed the team today that his evaluation of Matthew's injury (which occurred Nov. 7 against the New York Jets) is consistent with the evaluation and diagnosis of the Lions' medical staff," read the statement released by the Lions. "Matthew will continue the rehabilitation process that he began last week under the supervision of the team's medical staff."

The Lions have not confirmed reports that Stafford has a Grade 3 separation of the AC joint in his right shoulder. They have only said the injury was different than the separated shoulder he suffered in Week One. That one was believed to be a Grade 2 separation.

If Stafford's recovery follows the same timetable it did the first time, six weeks, he might be able to return for the final two, perhaps three, games of the season.

When asked a week ago why he would bother to come back for two essentially meaningless games, Stafford said, "Because I love to play and if I'm healthy I want to be out there."

Coach Jim Schwartz said the same thing.

"We're trying to win every game we play," he said.

For a quarterback that has sustained four injuries -- two to his right shoulder, one to his left shoulder and one to his right knee -- in 13 games, it seems illogical to take any further risks this season. Give him the rest of this season and the summer to fully heal and strengthen the shoulder.

The Lions, obviously, don't see it that way. --Schwartz pointed out four occasions in the two-point loss where the Lions left points on the boards. One was the missed 49-yard field goal by Dave Rayner, and the other three were drives that were killed prematurely by a turnover or penalties. "We had four opportunities inside their 35 and we didn't get it done. That's tough when points were at such a premium," he said.

One could also argue that the Lions left four points on the board at the end of the first half. Buffalo got the ball at its own 1-yard line with 1:46 left. After stopping the first down play for a short gain, Schwartz elected not to use a timeout, losing 43 seconds. He wanted to keep the timeout for a potential field-goal attempt.

The Lions wound up getting the ball back at the Buffalo 30 with 39 seconds left, and eventually they got it to the 7 before Rayner kicked a 25-yard field goal. They wound up taking one shot into the end zone. With those wasted 43 seconds, they might have been able to take a few shots.

Notebook:

  • QB Shaun Hill reported no complications or limitations from wearing a splint from his elbow to wrist on his left arm. It was protection against the surgically-repaired broken bone in his forearm. Still, the Lions operated out of the shotgun and pistol formations the majority of the time because it's still difficult for him to take snaps from under center.
  • RB Jahvid Best hasn't rushed for more than 50 yards in a month. He has said over and over that the turf toe injuries bother him more after the game than during the game. If he stays to his regimen, he will miss practice Wednesday and do very little on Thursday or Friday.
  • RB Kevin Smith is being a good soldier, not complaining too much about his back-up role. But it's clear he wants a chance to do more. He only had six carries Sunday (19 yards) and has only 11 carries in two games after gaining 51 yards on 12 carries against Washington. That was his only extended work of the season.
  • WR Nate Burleson has been a Lion for just five of the record 25 road losses. But he's leading the campaign to end the streak Sunday in Dallas. "When you put on this jersey you are embracing the past, present and future, and that's how I feel," he said. "Every time I step on that field, especially on the road, I'm thinking about what I can do for this organization. And right now, stopping that streak is at the top of my list."
  • TE Brandon Pettigrew had a rough game Sunday. He did catch four passes for 50 yards, but he dropped two. He also had a bad day blocking. It appeared he dinged his shoulder early in the game. He toughed it out, but wasn't able to hold his blocks long enough to spring the backs on the edges.
  • C Dominic Raiola had his worst game of the season. He was beaten regularly by Bills nose tackle Kyle Williams. "You can put the finger on me for that first play of the game," Raiola said of the two-yard loss. "Go ahead and throw in the rest of the mistakes, too, the offside penalties, the holding, the false starts. Nobody's pointing fingers at anybody, but I know I'm going to start with the man in the mirror and that's me."
  • LB Julian Peterson had one very noticeable whiff on Sunday. He had a clear shot at RB Fred Jackson but missed and Jackson rambled into the end zone with what proved to be the winning score. The play seemed to spark Peterson, though. He wound up with six tackles, two for losses and he broke up a pass.
  • SS Amari Spievey got the start over C.C. Brown on Sunday, but that was because Brown was still hobbled by a knee injury. The two are expected to battle it out for the starting spot this week. Spievey has played well in his two starts.
  • DE Lawrence Jackson got his most extended work of the season and he responded with eight tackles, a sack and another tackle for loss. The Lions defensive ends accounted for 24 of the team's 69 tackles.
  • FS Louis Delmas had a rare off day against the Bills. He was late on a couple of blitzes and was beaten over the top twice. He was benched for a couple of series in the second half, but returned for the fourth quarter.

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