Matthew Stafford is set to return as the Rams’ starting quarterback on Sunday against the Seahawks after missing Week 9 with a thumb injury. That doesn’t necessarily mean his thumb is at 100%, though. During his press conference on Wednesday, his first since injuring his thumb, Stafford indicated he’s not yet fully recovered but it’s feeling good enough for him to play through.
He was a full participant in practice, which is great news, and he expects to practice fully again on Thursday and Friday, but the thumb may not be feeling completely normal.
He was asked when he started to be able to grip a football the way he normally does, and his response was telling.
“The way I want to? Umm, still working on it,” Stafford said with a sarcastic laugh. “No, I feel pretty confident in my ability to go out there and play at a pretty high level.”
That certainly doesn’t sound like a quarterback who’s fully healthy, but as we all know, Stafford is as tough as anyone in the NFL. He was spotted with a wrap on his thumb during practice Wednesday, calling it “probably preventative” and “just something to help me in there just in case I hit it again, I guess.”
This isn’t the first time Stafford has dealt with a thumb injury like this, which means he knows how to manage it. He played through it back in 2020 and then had it repaired before the 2021 season, so he’s confident he can continue playing despite any sort of discomfort he might feel.
Stafford also injured his middle finger in the past and was able to manage that ailment, too, though he admitted the thumb is probably the most important one when it comes to gripping and throwing a football.
“Different injury. That was a mallet finger situation, popped the tendon in the back of my finger so it was kind of down,” Stafford said. “I don’t know. All of them that touch the ball are important. Thumb, maybe the most, so it’s definitely a challenge. Obviously, played the whole 2020 season with something similar, or not the whole, the second half of 2020 something similar. So done it before, can do it again.”
As for whether Stafford is afraid of suffering a setback, he’s not necessarily concerned in practice, but during a game, anything can happen.
“I mean, anything is possible. I would hope not in practice, but we’ll see after that,” he said to close his press conference.