Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford is questionable at best for Detroit's Thanksgiving Day game against Green Bay with an injured left shoulder.
“Most of the tests have come back where it shouldn’t be anything that I like to label significant; but he’s sore,” Lions coach Jim Schwartz told reporters in Detroit on Monday. “I would say if that continued he would be unlikely to play. There’s a chance that that goes away in the next couple of days, but structurally everything is good. I don’t think there is any lasting damage, but he’s extremely sore as you can expect. Like I said, we’ll see; you don’t want to close the door on anybody.”
Despite the injury, Stafford threw the game-winning touchdown pass Sunday in the Lions' 38-37 victory over the Cleveland Browns.
On Sunday, Schwartz said an initial X-ray was negative, but he said Stafford needed more tests. On Monday, he said Stafford suffered an AC joint separation. The AC joint connects the collarbone to the shoulder blade.
Stafford did not participate in the Lions’ walkthrough practice on Monday and the injury likely will prevent him from playing on Thursday. Daunte Culpepper, who started the Oct. 18 game against Green Bay, would get the call. He competed 6-of-14 passes for 48 yards with one interception before exiting with an injured hamstring in the third quarter.
Stafford took a crushing hit from defensive linemen C.J. Mosley on the second-to-last play of the game, while heaving a Hail Mary pass into the end zone.
Cornerback Brodney Pool intercepted the ball in the end zone, but the Browns were flagged for pass interference, giving the Lions one more chance at the 1-yard line with no time left.
Stafford came off the field in obvious pain. He lay on the sideline with doctors hovering over him as backup quarterback Daunte Culpepper came into the game. But then the Browns called timeout to set their defense for the final play.
"I heard timeout over the loudspeaker and knew that was probably my only chance of getting back in," Stafford said. "It was my left shoulder. Don't really need it to throw."
Stafford said he told the doctors to help him up. When they didn't, he insisted.
"Once one of them helped me up," Stafford said, "they weren't going to stop me."
No one had a chance.
"He popped up, and all the team doctors said, 'Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa,'" Schwartz said. "I said, 'What does he have?' They said, 'We don't even know.' ... It's a good thing our team doctors didn't play on the varsity, because Matt had to work his way onto the field there."
Schwartz said the Lions would have kept Stafford on the sideline had the injury been to his throwing shoulder.
"His right arm was good," Schwartz said. "He'd come way too far in that game to not finish it."
Stafford took the snap and quickly fired the ball to tight end Brandon Pettigrew for a touchdown.
"I was in some good pain, but the play goes on," Stafford said. "It didn't feel good, but I didn't care. It was one play. I knew I didn't have to play too much, just one snap, and try to throw a TD."
The catch was huge for Pettigrew, the 20th overall pick in the draft. He finished with six catches for 72 yards. "I think we saw him today play the way we expected when we drafted him," Schwartz said. "A big target in the red zone. There was no hesitation on Scott (Linehan)'s part to call that play. It was a play that we'd worked on. It was a play that we liked against their defense. We liked the guy that was going to get the ball."
With Stephen Peterman on injured reserve, Daniel Loper started at right guard. He threw a key block on the Hail Mary play that drew the pass interference, keeping linebacker Marcus Bernard from catching Stafford from behind — at least before Stafford got clobbered by Mosley.
— S Ko Simpson left Sunday's game with a knee injury and did not participate on Monday.
— WR Derrick Williams did not play Sunday because of a hip injury. He practiced some last week and again on Monday, and might have a chance to play Thursday against Green Bay.
— S Kalvin Pearson did not play Sunday because of a hamstring injury. He didn't practice Monday and seems doubtful for Thursday.
— LB Ernie Sims did not play Sunday because of a hamstring injury. He didn't practice last week or on Monday and seems doubtful for Thursday.
— DE Dewayne White did not play Sunday because of a toe injury. He didn't practice last week or on Monday and seems doubtful for Thursday.
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook under Bill Huber.