By: Will Burchfield

Matthew Stafford walked stiff-legged out of the Lions’ locker room on Sunday following injuries to his ankle and hamstring.

He strode much more easily to the podium for his press conference at the team’s headquarters on Wednesday. And at practice, he didn’t appear to be limited in any kind of serious fashion, despite a slight hitch in his step.

It certainly looks like Stafford will play Sunday in New Orleans.

“Feel OK,” Stafford said on Wednesday.

He has taken a beating the last two weeks behind a disorganized offensive line. He endured six sacks versus the Vikings and then six more versus the Panthers. Sunday took a particular toll, as Stafford was a hobbling across the field on a heavily-taped right ankle late in the game.

Asked how difficult it was to play at less than 100 percent, he said, “I don’t know. I was out there just trying to stay on the field and play as well as I could.”

Stafford did not appear to be wearing a brace at Wednesday’s practice. He wouldn’t say what kind of extra measures, if any, he’s taking this week to ensure he’ll be on the field Sunday.

“Just working with our trainers,” he said.

The Lions may well have to keep Stafford in the shotgun on Sunday to ease the burden on his ankle, but Caldwell wouldn’t divulge whether or not the team is preparing any differently.

“Check the report,” he said. “You’re trying to find a roundabout way of asking how he is or what his injury is. Check the report.”

The coach also turned down a question as to how an ankle injury generally affects a quarterback.

“So now I’m stupid?” Caldwell said. “I’m just checking with you. I’m not being disrespectful to you, but next question please.”

The only question that really matters is whether Stafford will take field on Sunday for his 102nd consecutive start. Barring anything crazy, at this point the answer appears to be yes.


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