It’s been known Matthew Stafford dealt with a back injury last season, but how severe was it?
The Lions quarterback actually played through a broken back, according to Mike O’Hara, who currently writes for the team’s official website. NFL Network later confirmed the report, describing the injury as “tiny fractures” in Stafford’s back.
This is true, described as tiny fractures in his back. It also helps explain what Matthew Stafford played through, something that probably keeps other players off the field and adds context to his season. https://t.co/TuLgMlJgRO
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) June 18, 2019
“He had a broken back last year,” O’Hara reported during a recent episode of his weekly podcast with WJR’s Ken Brown. “Broken bones in his back.”
All that had previously been reported during the season was that Stafford suffered a back injury after he was tackled 11 times against the Rams in Week 13, and then he was limited in practice for the next three weeks. Before that, he suffered a chest injury in Week 1 against the Jets and a pinky injury in Week 8 against the Seahawks.
Stafford still managed to start all 16 of the Lions’ games, but Detroit saw a significant drop in his production from recent years. He completed 66.1 percent of his passes for a career-low 3,777 total passing yards and 21 touchdowns, though he extended his consecutive start streak to 128 — the sixth-longest streak in NFL history.
Despite a down year for Stafford, the Lions have stood behind their quarterback and remained positive about his long-term future.
“(Stafford) had the back thing, and he went through numerous things where he wanted to play through it and our doctors said he could play through it,” general manager Bob Quinn said in January (per MLive.com). “He showed a lot of toughness. That’s a credit to him. That’s one thing I’ll never, ever question. This guy loves football, he’s competitive, he’s talented. We need to do a better job of putting better players around him and scheming up things better to use his talent.”
The Lions finished the regular season with a 6-10 record, missing the playoffs for the seventh time in Stafford’s 10-year career with Detroit.