Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford looks ‘great’ in return to practice

Detroit Free Press

Dave Birkett
| Detroit Free Press

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Matthew Stafford returned to practice Thursday, and at least in his teammates’ eyes, left little doubt he will play Sunday against the Carolina Panthers despite his thumb injury.

“He looked great,” cornerback Amani Oruwariye said. “I mean, he looked just like how he usually looks. Didn’t seem like he missed a beat, so he looked good.”

Stafford injured his right thumb in the first quarter of last week’s win over Washington when he was hit hard by linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis. NFL Network reported Stafford suffered a partially torn ligament in his throwing hand on the play.

Stafford stayed in the game and completed 22 of 30 passes for 216 yards and two touchdowns after the injury, but the Lions held him out of practice Wednesday for precautionary reasons.

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On Thursday, he threw lightly during the open portion of practice, completing all nine of his pass attempts on air, according to a pool report.

“He’s as tough as it gets on our team,” Oruwariye said. “Takes a lot of hits and gets right back up. Doesn’t complain, doesn’t say much, just always trying to get better … so hats off to him.”

Stafford indicated Monday he would play against the Panthers, but was less forthcoming about his status in his weekly video conference Wednesday.

Lions coach Matt Patricia called Stafford “day to day” on Thursday, and said Stafford got good mental work in at practice Wednesday.

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Asked if anything changed from last week to make him think Stafford would be limited by his injury, Patricia said, “I think you just always are amazed at what guys can do in the moment.”

“I think you always just stand there and marvel at that, and certainly with Matthew Stafford, you do that because sometimes things happen in the game and you’re like, ‘This guy’s still going. It’s unbelievable,’” Patricia said. “But then when things calm down, like we say, adrenaline is a beautiful thing. But when that stuff calms down, you want to be smart, you want to look at it and just do the right thing.”

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Wide receiver Marvin Jones (knee) and defensive end Austin Bryant (thigh) returned to practice Thursday, and receiver Danny Amendola (hip) remained out for the second straight day.

Kenny Golladay also missed practice Thursday with the hip injury that has kept him out the past two games.

Running back D’Andre Swift did not practice, according to a pool report.

Contact Dave Birkett at Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

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