Detroit Lions coach Jim Caldwell said that QB Matt Stafford is “not out of the woods” with his injured throwing hand


ALLEN PARK, Mich. – Detroit Lions coach Jim Caldwell said quarterback Matthew Stafford is “not out of the woods yet” with his right hand injury suffered against Baltimore on Sunday.

Stafford’s hand was stepped on after he was taken down while throwing an interception in the fourth quarter. Baltimore linebacker Terrell Suggs inadvertently stepped on Stafford’s hand, leaving it badly bruised. X-rays came back negative on the hand, but Monday he still had the middle, ring and pinkie fingers on his right hand individually taped up as well as swelling observed from a distance on the right hand.

Caldwell said the injury was not insignificant even though there are no breaks in the hand. Stafford said feeling has come back to his right hand after saying Sunday there was initial numbness and some burning in the nerves.

“He’s not out of the woods yet,” Caldwell said. “We’ll kind of see what he can do kind of as the week goes on. It’s not like it’s some insignificant injury, that’s not the case. It’s something that he’s going to have to really work at and deal with during the course of the week to see where he is. “It’s not like he’s out of the woods.”

Stafford would not show his right hand to reporters Wednesday during his weekly press availability, walking to a podium with both hands inside a hooded sweatshirt. A couple of times during his chat with the media, his left hand came out. His right hand never made an appearance. When asked if he would show us his hand, Stafford said “I would rather not.”

The quarterback said he had not tested throwing the ball prior to meeting with reporters Wednesday so he doesn’t know where it is at. He also said he was not sure if he would practice Wednesday. When asked how important it was to be able to grip the ball, he cracked, “pretty vital.”

“It’s important,” Stafford said. “We’ll see. We’ll see how I’m feeling, how it goes. We’ll just take it day-by-day.”

Stafford told reporters to “check the report,” meaning the daily injury report coming out Wednesday.

Asked if he could play if the game was Wednesday, he said “that’s a good question.”

When it was pointed out that didn’t answer the question, he said “that’s my answer.”

Caldwell said he’ll manage reps between Stafford and backup Jake Rudock “delicately” as he might have to try and get two quarterbacks ready to face Tampa Bay on Sunday. Caldwell said doctors will monitor Stafford’s hand during the week and then, based on what they say, it’s a matter of whether or not he can function as a quarterback. Caldwell did say, though, that the hand is “progressing in the right direction.”

“Can he do all the things you’re asking him to do and that entails quite a bit, you know, because he handles the ball on every play from an offensive standpoint, you know,” Caldwell said. “So we’ll see where he is. He’s got to be able to function.

“And often times he comes through, but this one, this one is going to take a little work.”

Stafford has started 108 straight games for the Lions. This season, Stafford has completed 271 of 424 passes for 3,302 yards, 22 touchdowns and seven interceptions this season.

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