LA Rams QB Matthew Stafford spinal cord contusion

Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /

The LA Rams have learned and taken decisive action over the recent injury news for starting quarterback Matthew Stafford. The news? It was not just his entrance into the NFL concussion protocol for two consecutive weeks. Rather, it was the feeling of numbness in both feet that was the alarming symptom that kept Stafford out of action.

We now know that the diagnosis of his injury is a spinal cord contusion. That is, bruising to the bundle of nerves that run the length of his spinal cord. How serious is that? Well, the report from LA Rams head coach Sean McVay is that he does not anticipate limitations for Stafford this offseason.

And so, the Rams have been forced to play three games without their starting quarterback, and must now find a way to become competitive without him for the remainder of the NFL season.

But what of the player?  Will Matthew Stafford be able to play in 2023? Well, the answer is conditional and complex. So let’s start with the simple and most basic of answers.
Yes, Matthew Stafford can play in 2023.

So why all the drama? What is so complex about that? Well, the truth is that a spinal cord contusion is not common, even in the NFL. So medical professionals must now try to determine the cause of the injury and determine if medical intervention is necessary to prevent it from happening again in the future.

Repetitive injuries to the spinal cord can in fact be quite dangerous. That is the complexity right now, trying to assess the likelihood of the injury repeating with no medical intervention. If the risk is too high, then which medical procedure can lower the risk to acceptable levels?

The Rams have been making do with backup quarterbacks John Wolford and Bryce Perkins. And the team recently signed Case Cookus to the practice squad. Will it be enough to close out the 2022 NFL season? Perhaps. But the Rams’ 2023 NFL season now has another set of questions for which there are no answers. Will the Rams add another quarterback? I would be shocked if the team fails to do so.

Stay tuned . . .

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