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Lions mum on Stafford injury, but Burleson expects QB to play

By Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press –

DETROIT — Matthew Stafford showed no obvious signs of the strained leg muscle he suffered Sunday as he made his way through the Lions’ locker room, but he didn’t exactly have Jared Allen on his tail.

Stafford underwent an MRI on his injured right leg Monday, but neither he nor Jim Schwartz would reveal the test results or say whether Stafford would play Sunday against Allen and the Vikings.

“I don’t have any comment on how anything went with him,” Schwartz said. “He wasn’t able to finish the game, Shaun Hill came in and finished the game for us, and we’ll see how he progresses through this week.”

Stafford declined comment on his health Monday, saying he’d talk to reporters at his usual time Wednesday.

Asked to pinpoint the injury — reported that he’s dealing with “a hamstring issue” and “the expectation is that he should be OK” — during an appearance on the “Valenti & Foster” show on WXYT-FM, Stafford said, “My leg hurts, I’ll go with that.”

Stafford practiced through some leg pain last week and left Sunday’s game late in the fourth quarter after he aggravated the injury while chasing Alterraun Verner on his 72-yard fumble-return touchdown.

Hill replaced Stafford for the final two series of regulation and threw two touchdown passes in an 18-second span to send the game to overtime. He finished 10 of 13 passing for 172 yards, but was stopped for a 1-yard loss on a quarterback sneak on the game’s final play.

Receiver Nate Burleson said Monday he’s “not really concerned” about Stafford’s injury.

“He’s tough,” Burleson said. “He’s actually been dealing with a little bit of a strain leading up to the week so he managed to get out there and play.

“I would expect him to (play Sunday against the Vikings). If not, you see what Shaun Hill came in and did.”

Stafford, who missed most of his first two seasons with shoulder and knee injuries, played all 16 games last year for the first time in his career.

Hill will start Sunday if Stafford can’t play.

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