Every Sunday night at NBC, we try to harvest updated information regarding the biggest injuries of the day, for discussion during the Sunday Night Football post-game show. This week, all efforts to obtain information regarding the status of Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford were met with the soft-yet-incredibly-annoying chirp of cricket wings.
When that happens, it usually means that the early indications aren’t good.
And that’s reportedly the case with Stafford, according to Tom Kowalski of MLive.com.
Per Kowalski, preliminary tests showed a Grade 3 separation of Stafford’s right shoulder. Grade 3 involves a complete separation of the joint, with tearing of ligaments and the capsule surrounding the joint. (We always thought Grade 3 was the highest grade of shoulder separation; as it turns out, the scale goes all the way up to Grade 6. Anything above Grade 3 usually involves the kind of trauma that doesn’t occur on a football field, except in one of the older versions of the Madden game, when the ambulance drove out and ran guys over.)
Kowalski reports that Stafford is expected to confer with Dr. James Andrews, who treated Stafford when he suffered a Grade 2 separation in Week One of the 2010 season. If it’s indeed a Grade 3 separation, Stafford likely will require surgery, and he almost definitely will be done for the year.
As Kowalski points out, Stafford never has missed a game due to injury in high school or college. He now has had four significant injuries in less than two pro seasons — a dislocated right kneecap, a separated left shoulder, and two separations of his right shoulder.
Maybe it’s bad luck. Maybe there’s something more to it. Either way, Stafford has yet to come close to fulfilling his potential for reasons unrelated to his performance, and sooner or later the Lions need to ask themselves whether the first pick in the 2009 draft is simply too prone to injury at the NFL level.