Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford had surgery on his throwing shoulder Friday, and the Lions say they expect the former No. 1 draft pick to be back in time for training camp after playing only three games last season.
Stafford's operation was performed by renowned sports Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola, Fla., after consultations this week. Stafford played only one game start to finish last season. He hurt his right shoulder in the season opener, came back for a victory over Washington on Halloween, then injured the same shoulder again the following game.
Stafford wasn't able to play again. He went on injured reserve on Dec. 24.
"After Matt hurt his shoulder in the (Nov. 7) game he was examined by both our medical staff and Dr. Andrews. There was a consensus at the time to proceed with a rehabilitation program and not to have surgery," coach Jim Schwartz said. "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. ... We have full confidence that Matt will be 100 percent before the start of training camp."
Stafford, the top pick in the 2009 draft, has played in only 13 games in two seasons.
Despite Stafford's injury woes, the Lions managed to win six games last season, including four in a row at the end. Backup Shaun Hill performed capably, and Drew Stanton also contributed.
There's no telling what Detroit could accomplish if Stafford could stay healthy. When he did play last season, he threw for six touchdowns and one interception in 96 attempts.
Andrews called Friday's procedure a success.
"It went very well," he said. "We now have plenty of time for a full recovery in order for him to get ready for next season. The procedure is the same one that we have successfully performed on a number of NFL quarterbacks. Matthew has one of the strongest arms in the league and I am confident that he will be as strong as ever."