Los Angeles Rams: Is Matthew Stafford’s Injury a Sign of Things to Come?

by Blaine Grisak
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Over the offseason, the Los Angeles Rams made one of the biggest moves for any team. They put all of their eggs in one basket and traded first round picks and Jared Goff for quarterback Matthew Stafford. Through the first week of training camp, Stafford showcased what he was capable of, making fans very excited about the movie. The feeling of excitement turned to feeling of worry on Monday evening.

Matthew Stafford’s Injured Thumb

Nearing the end of training camp practice on Monday, the Los Angeles Rams dealt with a small scare. Quarterback Matthew Stafford hit his thumb, the same thumb that had offseason surgery. Stafford his his thump on a helmet in the follow through of a pass. He immediately left the field to put a cold rag over it. His day was done.

It was a very similar injury to that of Jared Goff’s at the end of last season. Rams fans were worried for their star quarterback as expected. However, it was pretty clear that while an injury did occur, the Rams quarterback would be fine. Stafford was gripping a towel and his helmet and didn’t leave the field to get further attention.

Head coach Sean McVay went as far as saying, ““ I think he’ll be OK. We’ll just see what happens. That’s part of the game. … But I think everything will be OK there.”

Los Angeles Rams fans had a reason to worry about Stafford. After years of Sam Bradford, there is understandably going to be some PTSD there. Stafford was able to return to practice on Tuesday, as he confirmed there was, “nothing broken, fractured or torn.”  However, even he said that not all of his throws were there.

 

Matthew Stafford’s List of Injuries

That’s to be expected one day after suffering a minor injury. The issue and concern for the Los Angeles Rams is that Monday exemplifies one of the major concerns about Matthew Stafford. While he very rarely misses a game, it’s the little injuries that pile up. He’s played in 165 out of a total of 192 games. That’s 85%. If you take out his first two seasons, he’s played in 145 out of a possible 152 or 95%.

Those numbers on the surface look good, but they don’t tell the deeper story. Stafford played all 16 games last year. However, what that doesn’t show is the partially torn UCL in his right thumb that required surgery or the torn UCL that he suffered in his left elbow or the broken rib cartilage or the torn “something” in his left knee or the subtler or the right ankle sprain.

That’s quite the laundry list of injuries and to not miss a single game is impressive. However, this is a beat up quarterback despite his ability to remain productive. In 2019 he broke his back. According to Pro Football Reference, Stafford has been on the gameday injury report for his hip (10), shoulder (8), knee (7.5 times), thumb (4), back (3), ribs (3), finger (2.5), ankle (2), groin (1), quadricep (1), arm (1), hand (1), and foot (1).

That’s 13 body parts for a total of 44 games, or 22.9% of all the games he could have played in. Stafford didn’t necessarily miss games and like his thumb injury on Monday, he didn’t miss an important padded practice the following day.

Matthew Stafford’s Ability to Bounce Back

Fans can talk about what Stafford is capable of and the list is very long. However, it’s also fair to look at his injury history, look at what happened on Monday, and have a little bit of concern. Monday’s incident was an accident. It’s one of those things that happens. That doesn’t make Stafford injury prone. But what happens when the red jersey comes off and Stafford is allowed to get hit? Will there be a time when the team has to call on John Wolford.

DraftSharks lists Stafford as a medium risk player in 2021 and there is a 10% chance that he misses at least two quarters.

Hopefully Monday isn’t a sign of things to come and Stafford is able to remain healthy. It’s just something that’s worth noting. Stafford hasn’t very often suffered the big injury, but the little ones that pile up.

One thing that can’t go understated and is worth mentioning, is that while Stafford has suffered those small injuries, he is someone that wants to be out there for his teammates. Week 1 is seven weeks away. The Los Angeles Rams will have more practices, including important scrimmages against the Dallas Cowboys and Las Vegas Raiders.

However, for the first padded practice of the season, Matthew Stafford felt it was important to get those reps and got right back out on the field. Stafford could have taken the rest of the week off and not been questioned once from anybody. In fact, it’s likely that the training staff recommended it. As The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue mentioned, “The Rams actually had planned to hold Stafford out from Tuesday’s practice, head coach Sean McVay said, but he felt good enough to participate.”

That’s something that you want from the leader on the team. You best believe that everyone on offense took notice when No. 9 trotted onto the field one day after suffering an injury that left everyone worried.

Conclusion

Is Monday’s injury a sign of things to come? It’s impossible to know. Hopefully Stafford remains 100% healthy all season. However, if one things is for certain is that the past two days have been Matthew Stafford in a nutshell. While he’s suffered the small injuries in his career – all of the nicks and the bruises – he’s typically bounced right back and been ready to go for his teammates.

 

 

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