A loss in the preseason isn't the end of the world, but any player will tell you that, from a pride standpoint, it stings.
Injuries sting more.
That's what makes the loss to the Oakland Raiders Saturday night harder to swallow. Matt Stafford, Kevin Smith, Chris Houston, Mikel Leshoure, Maurice Stovall and Bill Bentley were all hurt, and only Stovall returned to action.
By all accounts, Stafford's injury to his left (non-throwing) hand isn't serious and shouldn't cause him to miss much (if any) time. While he didn't return to the game, that's no cause for concern.
It's preseason, so if you get your starting quarterback banged up, you sit him. There's no point in risking any further injury.
It's really the same thing for a lot of the injuries. Mikel Leshoure wasn't very effective in action Saturday night, so when he left with a chest injury, there really wasn't going to be a push to get him back in the game.
It's entirely possible that, had this been a regular season game, Leshoure and Stafford would have tried to play.
Not so for Kevin Smith, who left the game with an ankle injury. In fact, it's the same ankle that plagued him last season. This is the concern with Kevin Smith—he is a good running back who cannot stay healthy.
Cornerbacks Chris Houston and Dwight Bentley left with ankle and shoulder injuries respectively, though neither seems terribly serious. Nor does Ndamukong Suh's iced knee in the second half after the starting unit was done.
Maurice Stovall was able to return to action despite an injury to his right arm that took him out for a bit.
None of these injuries are devastating, although you don't want to see any starters hurt in a preseason game.
Still, it makes the loss that much tougher to swallow.
That being the case, expect Stafford, Smith and Houston to be absent from the final preseason game and both Bentley and Leshoure to see limited action. Leshoure needs more work before he sits for the two-game suspension, and the staff may not have decided for sure who the starting corner is opposite Houston, so Bentley might see some action to finalize that.
The best thing the team can do is rest these players and get ready for the start of the season, when the games count.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!