Report: Matthew Stafford Could Return from Spine Injury Before 6-Week Timeline

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistNovember 17, 2019

Detroit Lions quarterback's Jeff Driskel (2) and Matthew Stafford watch during warmups before an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears in Chicago, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

Detroit Lions quarterback Matt Stafford could miss as many as six games with a spine injury, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter and NFL.com's Ian Rapoport: 

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

Coming up on @NFLGameDay: My report on #Lions QB Matthew Stafford, who could be out as much as 6 weeks because of tiny, non-displaced fractures in the upper thoracic spine.

Per Schefter, "Doctors recently told [Stafford] that the fractured bones in his back are a six-week injury, league sources told ESPN."

Stafford has endured an up-and-down career since the Lions selected him out of the University of Georgia with the first overall pick in the 2009 NFL draft. His best statistical season came in 2011 when he threw for career-high totals in passing yards (5,038) and touchdowns (41).

The 31-year-old Florida native had become a model of durability entering the 2019 campaign. He recorded 136 consecutive starts, including the first eight games of this year, before a back injury forced him out of the lineup for the first time since 2010.

Jeff Driskel took the reins of the Lions' offense in the team's Week 10 loss to the Chicago Bears, and he should continue to receive the call while Stafford is sidelined. David Blough will handle backup duties.

All told, Stafford's strong play before the back problems wasn't enough to stop a Detroit skid after a promising 2-0-1 start to the year. The front office and coaching staff will likely play it safe with their franchise signal-caller, who's under contract through 2022.