Matthew Stafford: Back injury is healing

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Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford has no concerns about the long-term health of his back, even though he has missed four straight games with an injury that appears likely to keep him out for the rest of the season.

Stafford said today that the back injury is healing “as it should,” and won’t be an issue in the 2020 season, according to the Detroit Free Press.

“It’s something that was kind of a freak deal that happened and obviously got to take it in stride and listen to the doctors, my body, coaches, everybody, kind of figure out what’s best,” Stafford said. “But I was having a lot of fun playing when I was out there, wish I could be out there right now helping us try to win games. It’s just not the case.”

The Lions haven’t placed Stafford on injured reserve, but it seems very unlikely that he’d return at this point. Detroit has already been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, and the last thing the Lions want is for Stafford, who counts $29.5 million against the salary cap this year and $31.5 million against the salary cap next year, not to heal. Stafford says all he needs is time, and the next time we see him on the field will likely be in 2020.