ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) — Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford had a different look at practice Wednesday.
He wore a glove on his right throwing hand that covered only his injured middle finger. He seemed to throw accurately with a decent degree of velocity to teammates during the portion of practice that was open to reporters.
The New York Giants , however, will provide a much tougher test for Stafford’s ability to pass effectively with a banged-up finger outdoors and on the road.
Stafford hurt his finger in the first quarter of Sunday’s win over Chicago, playing through the injury that stemmed getting hit by the Bears’ Leonard Floyd. He played the rest of the game with a glove covering all his fingers and thumb on his right hand.
He plans to experiment with different options, with and without a glove, during practices this week.
“I’m not going to get into specifics,” Stafford said. “I’m going to figure out what’s best for me and this team and go forward.”
After throwing only one interception the previous eight games, Stafford was picked off on consecutive possessions in the fourth quarter against the Bears and had one of those passes returned for a touchdown. Stafford bounced back well enough, completing passes and running for a 7-yard, go-ahead touchdown to help the Lions become the first team in NFL history to come back from fourth-quarter deficits to win eight games in a season.
He said his finger is OK and that it feels about the same as it did Sunday.
“It’ll continue to get better, I’m sure,” Stafford said.
Resting his finger, allowing backups Dan Orlovsky and Jake Rudock to take more snaps and make more throws, is not an option Stafford wants to take advantage of this week, not with the division title and playoff positioning at stake.
“I plan to take every rep in practice and in the game,” he said.
Stafford has started every game for a sixth straight season after injuries stunted his first two years in the league. Detroit drafted him No. 1 overall in 2009 and he missed six games his first season and 13 games his second year with shoulder and knee injuries. Throughout his career, including his rookie year against Cleveland when he was knocked out of a game and came back to throw a game-winning TD with no time left, Stafford has proven he can play through pain.
“It’s not a matter of toughness with him, it never has been,” Lions coach Jim Caldwell said. “He’s a very, very tough-minded and tough physically individual that battles through a lot of stuff.”
In Week 15, the stakes will be high for both the NFC North-leading Lions (9-4) and Giants (9-4). The winner can potentially clinch a playoff spot with two games remaining in the regular season.
“They’re playing for a lot; we’re playing for a lot,” Stafford said. “It’s an NFC game. It’s going to be a big one. We’re excited about the opportunity, obviously. Great to be in this type of a position.”