ALLEN PARK, Mich. — Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford suffered a hamstring injury and a sprained ankle in Detroit’s 27-24 loss to Carolina, a source told ESPN Insider Dan Graziano, and Stafford’s week of practice will determine whether he plays Sunday against New Orleans.
During an appearance on the Mitch Albom Show on WJR Radio in Detroit earlier Monday, Stafford was cagey about his status for Sunday. He declined to provide an update on the status of his ankle and leg, deferring questions to Lions coach Jim Caldwell. When asked directly if he was going to be playing Sunday, Stafford said, “I don’t know yet. We’ll see.”
Caldwell told reporters to “check the report” when asked about Stafford’s injuries. The first injury report of the week comes out Wednesday. Caldwell said Stafford was “sore,” but that a lot of players were sore after Sunday’s game.
Stafford said he and the Lions are protecting the information because they believe it offers a “competitive advantage or disadvantage,” as well as being for the safety of players.
“Why would you want another team to know exactly what’s going on with you if you don’t have to mention it?” Stafford said. “Obviously, the reports come out and all that kind of stuff, and that’s about as much information as we’re as a team going to get out.
“There’s no real win in telling everybody in America what’s going on with ya, right? ‘What’s the positive’ is how I look at it.”
Asked when a decision will be made about whether he’ll play against the Saints, Stafford said, “I’m not sure, honestly.”
If Stafford is unable to play, Jake Rudock — who has never taken a snap in the NFL — would be the starter, unless the team makes a move for another backup. Detroit has only two quarterbacks on the roster. The Lions’ third quarterback in training camp, Brad Kaaya, is now a member of the Panthers. Last season’s backup, Dan Orlovsky, is a free agent.
Stafford joked on the radio show that he also tells his parents to “check the report” when they ask about his injuries. He said he suffered the injuries on specific plays; they weren’t cumulative injuries that occurred against the Panthers.
After the game Sunday, Stafford wouldn’t say much about the injuries, but he gingerly walked out of the locker room. Trainers examined his right leg and right ankle during the game, and he was clearly hobbling while leading the Lions on two touchdown drives in the fourth quarter.
Stafford has been sacked 12 times in the past two weeks, including six times on Sunday. He has completed 64.2 percent of his passes this season for 1,116 yards, nine touchdowns and one interception.
Stafford has started as Detroit’s quarterback in every game since the start of the 2011 season. He missed six games his rookie year and 13 games his second year due to injury.
The Lions signed Stafford to a five-year, $135 million extension in the offseason, making him the highest-paid player in the NFL per year.