Lions leave door open for Matthew Stafford’s return

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Matthew Stafford has missed four consecutive games. Will he miss four more?

The quarterback remains on the Lions’ roster, and coach Matt Patricia continues to call Stafford week to week with his back injury.

“Out of respect for Matthew and his competitiveness and what he means to this team and what he brings every single week, we’re just going to kind of take it week-by-week and see what happens from that standpoint,’’ Patricia said, via Paul Pasche of lionslowdown.com.

Stafford fractured bones in his back late in the team’s Week Nine loss to the Raiders. He said two weeks ago he hoped to return this season no matter the standings.

The Lions were eliminated from playoff contention on Thanksgiving Day.

While the Lions have placed Jeff Driskel on injured reserve, they will not do the same with Stafford. Stafford will do his part helping David Blough, who started his first career game against the Bears.

“I think [Stafford] has done a great job go all the way back to when we first started in the spring and him being here with the offseason stuff he had going on, he was really committed to the team,’’ offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said Monday. “Now that he’s had this injury, and it’s pushed him back again, he’s been here all the time; he’s been in the quarterback room going through the same preparation as if he was playing to help those younger guys. If you ask Jeff and Dave, they’ll tell you how helpful he’s been. He’s in their ear on the sideline. He’s looking through the pictures with them giving them extra coaching points. He’s doing a good job staying engaged.’’

Stafford has thrown for 2,499 yards, 19 touchdowns with five interceptions in eight games.