Lions QB Matthew Stafford to Undergo Minor Procedure on Knee, Team will place Stafford on IR

Posted Dec 24, 2009

Allen Park, Mich.— Detroit Lions Head Coach Jim Schwartz announced today that rookie QB Matthew Stafford will undergo a minor surgical procedure on his knee next week and will be placed on the Reserve/Injured list.

“After a physical examination which has ruled him out for Chicago’s game, we’ve decided to put Matthew Stafford on the injured reserve,” said Schwartz. “He’ll be operated on Tuesday (December 29) for a minor knee operation that we knew we were going to have to do at the end of the season. It’s just a little clean up, but we’re going to get a week jump on that since we’re going to declare him out for Chicago. That’ll be Tuesday in Birmingham. We anticipate a minor surgery just to clean out some irritants and debris. Since he’s had it, he’s had on and off swelling. It’s been stuff he’s been able to play through, but it’s also something we knew we needed to address after the season. His shoulder is on course, there’s no procedure for the shoulder. That’s where we are with him.”

Stafford, the first overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, completed 201-of-377 passes (53.3 pct.) for 2,267 yards during his rookie season. His 13 touchdown passes are a new Lions’ rookie passing record. With a 54-yard pass to WR Calvin Johnson at Cincinnati (12/6), Stafford recorded either a touchdown pass or a rushing touchdown in all 10 games he started this year.

On November 22 against the Cleveland Browns, Stafford turned in one of the finest performances by a rookie in NFL history. Against the Browns, he led the Lions to a 38-37 win after overcoming three different deficits (21, 3 and 6 points). It was his first career fourth quarter comeback win. In the dramatic, last second win, he completed 26 of 43 passes for a career-high and NFL Rookie Record (previous was Arizona QB Matt Leinart, 405 yards 11/26/06) 422 yards. He also tied the NFL Rookie Record with five passing touchdowns (tied with Chicago QB Ray Biuvid 12/5/37). Stafford’s 422 yards were the third-highest Lions’ single-game total and the most yards thrown for by a Lions quarterback in a win.

In that game, Stafford became just the second rookie in NFL history to throw for five touchdowns in a game and shattered the Lions’ previous rookie-high of two. His five touchdowns were thrown to five different receivers. At 21 years, 288 days old, Stafford was the youngest player in NFL history to pass for five touchdowns in a game. Buivid accomplished the feat at 22 years, 112 days old. The five touchdowns also tied for the most by a Lions quarterback in team history (Gary Danielson vs. Minnesota 12/9/78).

After injuring his shoulder at the end of the game, Stafford returned for the game’s final play, connecting on a one-yard touchdown strike to fellow rookie TE Brandon Pettigrew on an untimed down (following a defensive pass interference penalty) for the game-winning score.

Other highlights of Stafford’s rookie season include leading the Lions to a 19-14 win over Washington (9/27) in Week 3. Against the Redskins, Stafford completed 21-of-36 passes for 241 yards and a touchdown for a passer rating of 87.8 vs. Washington (9/27). At Chicago (10/4), Stafford’s 221 passing yards in the first half was the most by a Lions passer since QB Jon Kinta garnered 314 yards in the first half at Philadelphia (9/23/07). Stafford’s 221 passing yards in the first half is the fourth-highest tally by a Lions passer in the past 15 seasons (since 1995). At Minnesota (11/15), he registered new Lions single-game rookie recorded for both attempts (51) and completions (29), as he threw for 224 yards and no interceptions.

On opening day at New Orleans (9/13), Stafford became the first Lions rookie quarterback to start the season since QB Greg Landry in 1968. At 21 years, 218 days old, Stafford is the youngest quarterback to start a season opener since QB Drew Bledsoe (21 years, 203 days old) started for the New England Patriots in the 1993 season opener.

Stafford has led one of the strongest rookie draft classes in the NFL that includes: Pettigrew, S Louis Delmas, LB DeAndre Levy, WR Derrick Williams, DT Sammie Hill, RB Aaron Brown, LB Zack Follett and TE Dan Gronkowski, all players who have spent time on the Lions active roster. The rookie class played in a combined 93 games this season with 53 starts. Stafford, Pettigrew, Delmas and Hill all started in the season opener at New Orleans, which marked the first time four rookies have started on opening day since 1978.