Stafford shows toughness after thumb injury

IRVINE (News4usonline) – Any concerns and questions anyone may have had about the extent of the thumb injury that Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford suffered during a training camp practice on Monday, can be put to rest. Stafford came back to practice on Tuesday, Aug. 3, firing away like he has been since he’s been hitting the field with the Rams offense. 

That’s good enough for a much-relieved Rams head coach Sean McVay to see. 

“He was good,” McVay told reporters. “It was a good contusion that he has on his thumb, but he’s so tough. He got out here today, didn’t have any limitations, and he’s not going to say anything about it, but you know he’s pushing through, and I think that says as much about him as anything.

“Got a bunch of good work in today on both sides being our first day in pads, so I was really pleased with a lot of things on both sides,” McVay added. “We’ll be able to look at this tape and clean it up, but Matthew’s doing really well, and I think that it all gave us a kind of sigh of relief, if you will.” 

Aug. 3, 2021-Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Van Jefferson (12) looks for running room against Jalen Ramsey (5) during training camp. Photo credit: Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline

Measured optimism about the status of Stafford’s injury would be the best way to describe the atmosphere felt like after practice on Monday. Tuesday afternoon, things were a little looser. There were no visible signs of the thumb injury affecting Stafford’s throwing.

When he reared back to toss a deep pass for wideout DeSean Jackson, a ball that was perfectly thrown, you knew that Stafford wasn’t feeling with any residue from the day before. There was a thought, however, to hold Stafford out of practice but the veteran quarterback overrode that idea, McVay said.      

“I think if he told – he felt good about it,” remarked McVay. “I think he’s earned the right to be able to kind of give us his feedback and know how his body feels and if he felt like that was the best approach, we’d do that. But with kind of the feedback that I got from medical staff, he felt good about it as long as he was feeling good. Earlier today we were planning on him not practicing, and then he came out and he said, ‘no I’m practicing.’ And I said, ‘okay, if you want to practice, let’s go.’ So that was kind of how it unfolded.”

For his part, Stafford said missing the team’s first day in pads was not an option. 

“It’s our first day in pads and I want to be out there,” Stafford said. “I want to be out there with these guys, every opportunity I get, whether I’m 100 percent or not. Every opportunity that I get to call, play and run against our defense and with our guys is an opportunity I need to get and I don’t want to waste them. If it was good enough to go, then I’m going to be out there to go.”

The injury, as Stafford described it, was just something freakish that happened. 

Aug. 3, 2021-Los Angeles Rams wide receiver DeSean Jackson (1) gets open against Jalen Ramsey (5) in training camp practice. Photo credit: Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline

“We were just running a quick game play and I just threw it pretty hard and smacked the helmet,” Stafford commented. “(I) didn’t really know what happened. (My) thumb kind of went numb, you know when you get hit like that sometimes. I just was kind of unsure what was going on. Then our training staff and doctors, everybody checked it out. Nothing (is) broken or fractured or torn. Just kind of worked on it through the night to try and get it ready to practice today and it felt good enough, so we came out and practiced.”

Everything sounds great. Stafford looked great, flicking passes all over the field with no sign of a drop off.  Still, there is the matter that Stafford’s right injured thumb is where he had surgery on earlier this year. So it was not as easy as 1,2, 3 for Stafford to get on the field. He still had to go through a list of check off boxes before McVay or the team’s medical team would allow him back on the field. 

“He had an x-ray and it checked out,” McVay said. “The doctors looked at it, (Team Physician) Neal ElAttrache was here yesterday and took a look at it. He checked all the boxes in terms of the strength, things like that, but anytime that you’re a quarterback, it’s so important for that thing to be feeling good. And there was definitely a contusion there. He certainly probably isn’t going to say anything, but he was able to throw the ball really well, made a lot of big time plays today and got a bunch of good quality reps.” 

Coaches and team staff weren’t the only ones concerned about Stafford’s health. Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald spoke his piece about the matter. He is just relieved as everyone else. 

“That was everything,” said Donald. “I was making sure he was good. I was worried. He’s a tough guy. I made sure after the practice I talked to him, made sure he’s good. When we were doing a walk-thru earlier, I said, ‘I said let me see your finger.’  He made it move and he was good. So, I was like alright we’re cool. That’s it. He’s a tough quarterback, a tough guy. I’m just happy he’s good. That’s the type of guy you want – that’s going to be tough. That’s going to work. That’s going to want to work.”

Featured Image Caption: Aug. 3, 2021-Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) at work during training camp practice. Photo credit: Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline