On the evening of December 22, 2019, Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford suffered a back injury that sent shockwaves through the NFL. The injury occurred during the fourth quarter of the Lions’ game against the Denver Broncos, when Stafford was hit by Broncos defensive lineman Shelby Harris.
The injury was initially diagnosed as a back fracture and Stafford was placed on injured reserve. After further tests, it was discovered that Stafford had suffered a transverse process fracture in his back, which is a small bone located near the spine. The injury was classified as a grade 3, which is the most severe type of fracture and typically requires a lengthy recovery period.
The news of Stafford’s injury had a major impact on the Lions, who were already struggling at the time. The team lost their next four games and finished the season in last place in the NFC North.
Stafford began his recovery immediately, undergoing surgery on December 28th to repair the fracture. Following the surgery, Stafford was placed on the PUP (physically unable to perform) list, which meant he was not allowed to practice or play for the remainder of the season.
While Stafford was recovering, the Lions began the process of finding a replacement quarterback. They brought in journeyman signal-caller Jeff Driskel, who had previously played for the Cincinnati Bengals and San Francisco 49ers. Driskel had a solid season as the Lions’ starting quarterback, but the team was unable to make the playoffs.
In the weeks leading up to the 2020 season, there were some doubts about whether Stafford would be able to return to the field. However, Stafford was able to make a full recovery and was cleared to practice before the start of the season. He went on to play in all 16 games for the Lions in 2020, throwing for 4,084 yards and 26 touchdowns.
It was a remarkable comeback for Stafford, who was able to put the injury behind him and lead the Lions to a 7-9 record. While the team fell short of making the playoffs, Stafford was able to stay healthy throughout the season and showed that he is still one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL.
Stafford’s injury was a major setback for the Lions as he was unable to play with full potential in 2022 Seasons.