Lions put rookie QB Stafford on injured reserve; Stanton is starter

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- The season is over for Detroit Lions rookie quarterback Matthew Stafford, who has been placed on injured reserve ahead of what the team calls minor right knee surgery.

Lions coach Jim Schwartz says Stafford, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 draft, was scheduled to have the surgery after the season. But Stafford was placed on injured reserve Wednesday after a physical exam indicated that he wouldn't be ready to play in the Jan. 3 season finale against the Chicago Bears.

"We anticipate a minor surgery just to clean out some irritants and debris," Schwartz said. "Since he's had (the injury), he's had on and off swelling. It's been stuff he's been able to play through, but it's also something we knew we needed to address after the season.

Third-year quarterback Drew Stanton will make his first NFL start Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers.

Stafford injured his non-throwing left shoulder while leading a fourth-quarter comeback that lifted the Lions to a 38-37 victory over the Cleveland Browns on Nov. 22. Stafford aggravated the injury during a Dec. 6 loss at Cincinnati, but Schwartz said the rookie's recovery is "on course" and he won't undergo surgery on the shoulder.

Stafford completed 201 of 377 passes (53.3 percent) for 2,267 yards and 13 touchdowns, a record for a Lions rookie. He threw five of them against Cleveland, tying both a Detroit franchise record and the 72-year-old NFL record. He also set an NFL rookie record with 422 passing yards in that game.

Stafford either threw or ran for a touchdown in all 10 of his starts, including one pass in the Lions' 19-14 victory over the Washington Redskins in Week 3. That victory ended Detroit's 19-game losing streak, the NFL's second longest.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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