Two days before the Lions take on the Panthers, quarterback Matthew Stafford continues to trend in the right direction.
Detroit's QB1 practiced again Friday and is officially listed as questionable for Week 11. Stafford has been expected to play this weekend after suffering a partial ligament tear in his right thumb, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported earlier in the week.
His involvement would likely make a major difference in a game the Lions can ill afford to drop. Detroit (4-5), which stands just 1.5 games behind the seventh seed, has markedly tougher tests ahead (Packers, Titans, Buccaneers). Moreover, three of Stafford's top weapons -- running back D'Andre Swift (concussion) and wide receivers Kenny Golladay (hip) and Danny Amendola (hip) -- have been ruled out against Carolina.
Stafford has been his usual self this season after missing half of 2019 with a back injury. But he's been beat up a bit. He exited in the fourth quarter of a Week 9 loss to the Vikings following a hit to the head. He sustained the thumb injury last week versus Washington but played through it to lead the Lions to a three-point win. After sitting out Wednesday's practice, the former Pro Bowler was a limited participant the following two days.