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Caldwell On Stafford's Hand Injury: "He's Not Out Of The Woods"

By: Will Burchfield

Matthew Stafford left Sunday's loss to the Ravens after Terrell Suggs stepped on his throwing hand, and the quarterback is still feeling the effects a few days later.

Asked on Wednesday if it was a relief that Stafford's hand was badly bruised, not broken, Jim Caldwell said, "He's not out of the woods yet. We'll kind of see what he can do as the week goes on. It's not like it's some insignificant injury. That's not the case."

The 6-6 Lions play at the Buccaneers on Sunday afternoon. As to what he'll need to see out of Stafford in practice to determine if he can take the field in Tampa Bay, Caldwell said, "It's just management of can he function, can he do all the things you're asking him to do? And that entails quite a bit because he handles the ball, obviously, on every play."

Stafford has played through various right hand injuries over the course of his career, including a dislocated middle finger toward the end of last season. He has started 108 straight games, the third-longest streak among active quarterbacks.

Will it continue Sunday?

"We'll see where he is," said Caldwell. "He's got to be able to function, and often times he comes through. But like I said, this one's going to take a little work."

Stafford completed 24 of 29 passes for 292 yards with one touchdown and one interception on Sunday before being replaced by Jake Rudock late in the fourth quarter. Rudock went 3-5 for 24 yards and one interception, which was returned for a touchdown.

Caldwell said he'll "delicately" balance the practice reps between Stafford and Rudock this week.

Odds are, Stafford will play. The Lions can't afford another loss if they have any hope of making the playoffs, and Stafford is no stranger to playing through pain. But Caldwell made it clear the quarterback's latest injury should not be taken lightly.

"It's something that he's going to have to really work at and deal with here during the course of the week to see where he is," Caldwell said. "It's not like he's out of the woods."

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