The Lions listed Stafford on the injury report with a back injury after taking 11 hits against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 13, but the team never revealed the specifics of the injury. The ailment limited the franchise quarterback in practice for the next three weeks.
Along with his back injury, Stafford exited the season opener against the New York Jets after two huge hits to his chest. He also sustained an injury to the pinkie on his non-throwing hand that required tape for the remainder of the 2018 campaign.
Despite Stafford's injuries, the quarterback never missed a game and pushed his consecutive starts streak to 128 contests in a row. His streak is the sixth-longest by a quarterback in NFL history, trailing only Brett Favre, Eli Manning, Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers and Matt Ryan.
"[Stafford] had the back thing, and he went through numerous things where he wanted to play through it and our doctors said he could play through it," Lions general manager Bob Quinn said in January. "He showed a lot of toughness. That's a credit to him. That's one thing I'll never, ever question. This guy loves football, he's competitive, he's talented. We need to do a better job of putting better players around him and scheming up things better to use his talent."
Stafford, who played all but 23 of the Lions' 1,075 offensive snaps last season, threw for 3,777 yards with 21 touchdown passes and 11 interceptions. Detroit posted a 6-10 record and missed the playoffs for the seventh time with the 10-year veteran under center.