According to team reporter Mike O’Hara, Lions QB Matthew Stafford had broken bones in his back last year, but played through the injury.
“He had a broken back last year,” O’Hara said during his weekly podcast. “Broken bones in his back.”
Multiple sources have told Meinke that Stafford’s injuries were more serious than previously reported. NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport says sources described Stafford’s injury as “tiny fractures” in his back.
Per Kyle Meinke, Stafford was listed on the injury report late in the season with a back injury, but the extent of the injury was not made clear until now.
Stafford was first listed with the back injury following a Week 13 game against the Rams. He was limited in practice each of the next three weeks.
Stafford also left the opener against the Jets following a pair of hard hits. He had an injury to his pinkie on his non-throwing hand that had to be taped for the rest of the season.
Stafford, 31, is a former first-round pick of the Lions back in 2009. He was in the final year of his five-year, $76.5 million contract when he and the Lions agreed to a five-year, $135 million extension back in 2017.
Stafford stands to make base salaries of $13.5 million and $15 million over the next two years of the agreement.
In 2018, Stafford appeared in all 16 games for the Lions and completed 66.1 percent of his passes for 3,777 yards, 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 17 quarterback out of 38 qualifying players.