| Detroit Free Press
Can Detroit Lions get back to .500 at Carolina? Our guys break it down
Free Press sports writers Dave Birkett and Carlos Monarrez preview Sunday’s Detroit Lions game against the Carolina Panthers.
Barring any setbacks, the Detroit Lions should have starting quarterback Matthew Stafford in the lineup Sunday against the Carolina Panthers.
The Lions listed Stafford as questionable on their Friday injury report, but Stafford is expected to play a week after suffering a right thumb injury in a win over Washington.
Stafford was limited in practice Friday for the second straight day, but quarterbacks coach Sean Ryan said Stafford is throwing the ball well and able to do everything his job requires despite the injury.
Stafford partially tore ligaments in his throwing hand on a hit by Washington linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis. He stayed in the game, completed 22 of 30 passes for 216 yards and two touchdowns after the injury and drove the Lions for the winning field goal as time expired.
While Stafford should play Sunday, he will not have two of his top receivers on the field.
The Lions (4-5) ruled both Kenny Golladay and Danny Amendola out for Sunday with hip injuries. Amendola did not practice all week, while Golladay practiced on a limited basis Wednesday and was on the field for the start of practice Thursday, when he was listed as a non-participant.
Asked if Golladay suffered a setback, Patricia said, “We’re trying to be smart with everybody here, knowing that we have two games really close together back-to-back. I think we mention all the time maybe that in those situations, guys that are just coming back to practice, we try to be smart with them as we go through the week. If we push them one day, then what does the next day look like, and just try to evaluate in a day-by-day situation from that standpoint.”
The Lions visit the Panthers (3-7) on Sunday, then host the Houston Texans on Thanksgiving.
Five other players are questionable to play Sunday for the Lions: Austin Bryant (thigh), Jarrad Davis (knee), Da’Shawn Hand (groin), Halapoulivaati Vaitai (foot) and Will Harris. Vaitai is expected to start at right guard, while Harris was added to the report Friday with a groin injury.
For the Panthers, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is officially questionable to play with a knee injury. If Bridgewater cannot play, either P.J. Walker or Will Grier will start at quarterback.
“Certainly, I’m getting ready for Teddy Bridgewater,” Patricia said. “This guy’s a tough, tough dude. He’s going to be out there and ready to go, and if he’s not, then we do our due diligence on Philip and on Grier, and make sure that we know what kind of plays we’ve seen on tape, what they’re good at, maybe how the offense will change or not change when they’re in there in those situations. A lot of times, or sometimes there’s two quarterbacks that are going to roll through there. So we’re kind of preparing for all that stuff.”