Detroit Lions second-year quarterback Matthew Stafford underwent successful surgery on his right (throwing) shoulder Friday morning and is expected to be sidelined for up to four months, the team announced Friday.
The surgery was performed by Dr. James Andrews, the noted Birmingham, Ala.-based surgeon.
Stafford suffered a shoulder separation -- his second such injury this season -- during a Nov. 7 game against the New York Jets. Stafford originally hurt the shoulder when he was knocked out of the 2010 season opener against the Chicago Bears on a sack by defensive lineman Julius Peppers.
"After Matt hurt his shoulder in the Jets game, he was examined by both our medical staff and Dr. Andrews," Lions coach Jim Schwartz said in a statement issued by the team on Friday. "There was a consensus at the time to proceed with a rehabilitation program and not to have surgery.
"Subsequent evaluations toward the end of the season by our staff and Dr. Andrews also confirmed that Matt had been making good progress with his rehab. But after Matt's most recent visit to Dr. Andrews, it was determined by Dr. Andrews that Matt's healing process could be enhanced by undergoing surgery at this time."
The No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft played in just three games this season, passing for 535 yards and six touchdowns with only one interception.
MLive.com reports that Stafford, 22, should be 100 percent when the Lions minicamp opens in May, if the impending labor situation is resolved by then. The Lions did not confirm how long Stafford would need to heal, but suggested he would be ready for the season.
"While continuing the rehab program (without surgery) was still a viable option, Matt decided to have the surgery now in order to ensure that he will have plenty of time to recover and rehab prior to the 2011 season. We have full confidence that Matt will be one-hundred percent before the start of training camp."
Stafford has played in just 13 games since Detroit drafted him out of Georgia. Backups Shaun Hill and Drew Stanton both started in Stafford's absence this season for the Lions (6-10).
Stafford threw for 2,267 yards, 13 touchdowns and 20 interceptions in his 2009 rookie campaign.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.