If Matthew Stafford Is Done for the Season, Franchise's Future Is the Reason

Ross MaghielseCorrespondent IOctober 19, 2009

GREEN BAY, WI - OCTOBER 18:  Injured quarterback Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions talks with teammates on the sidelines during a game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on October 18, 2009 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Lions 26-0. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Matthew Stafford’s injury may be worse than expected. According to reports from ESPN and Michael Rosenberg of The Detroit Free Press, Stafford could have season-ending surgery sometime in the near future.

Stafford injured his knee two weeks ago against Chicago. He was kept out of Sunday’s game against Green Bay in what was being billed as a precautionary decision. The common explanation was that sitting Stafford this week would give him extra time to fully recover and rest over the bye week. Now it appears there was more to the story.

The medical results that came back on Stafford’s knee have been forwarded on to highly renowned surgeon Dr. James Andrews for a second opinion, according to ESPN. From what history has taught us, when an athlete visits Dr. Andrews, it usually results in a season-ending outcome.

Last season was frustrating for Lions fans because the team was seemingly clueless on the field. This season is filled with frustration because the team can’t seem to catch a break off the field.

In Green Bay, the Lions had to use offensive lineman Stephen Peterman at defensive tackle because they were so short-handed on the defensive line. Detroit entered the game with three injured defensive linemen, and lost two more during it.

Making the Stafford injury worse, Daunte Culpepper left the game with a pulled hamstring. Granted, the bye week should give Culpepper enough time to heal, but I can tell you from experience, hamstring injuries tend to linger.

Detroit fans might remember Tigers outfielder Bobby Higginson missed almost a full seasons with an “injured” hamstring.

The team is keeping mum about Stafford’s injury, listing him as questionable and describing the “situation” as something they will monitor on a daily basis.

While the actual seriousness of Stafford’s injury is still unknown, some facts are painfully obvious.

Stafford is hurt. He is hurt bad enough that the team is being very cautious about setting a timetable for his return.

Other factors should be considered as well. What’s the risk/reward factor in putting Stafford back on the field behind an offensive line that can’t protect him?

The risk is potential for further and more serious injury. The reward is that maybe the Lions sell more tickets and get to three, dare I say four wins this season. Nothing will darken a franchise's future faster than a serious injury to its franchise quarterback.

Stafford has the ability to be a good quarterback in this league for a long time. Rushing him back from injury to try to stop the bleeding of what is sure to be a gory season is a bad idea.