Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford is dealing with a thumb injury. Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Lions QB Matthew Stafford expected to play vs. Panthers despite thumb injury

In what became a rarity for Week 11 of the season, the Detroit Lions have some good news on the injury front ahead of Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers. 

According to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, the Lions expect quarterback Matthew Stafford to start against Carolina despite dealing with what NFL Network's Tom Pelissero (h/t Adam Maya) previously reported to be a partial tear in the thumb of his throwing hand. 

In last Sunday's thrilling 30-27 win over the Washington Football Team, Stafford completed 24-of-33 passes for 276 yards and three touchdowns. He was officially limited in practice heading into the weekend but is not "limited by his thumb injury" as of Friday afternoon, per Detroit QBs coach Sean Ryan.

Stafford will be missing some familiar faces on offense. Rookie running back D'Andre Swift is in the concussion protocol and isn't cleared to play Carolina, and wide receivers Kenny Golladay and Danny Amendola are both dealing with hip setbacks and won't be available through the weekend. 

The 4-5 Lions are in the basement of the NFC North standings but are also within striking distance of the 7-2 Green Bay Packers in the race for the division crown. Unproven commodities Chase Daniel and David Blough remain below Stafford on the depth chart, but Detroit understandably isn't keen on turning to either option if Stafford can start. 

Zac Wassink is a football and futbol aficionado who is a PFWA member and is probably yelling about Tottenham Hotspur at the moment. Erik Lamela and Eli Manning apologist. Chanted for Matt Harvey to start the ninth inning of Game 5 of the 2015 World Series at Citi Field. Whoops. You can find him on Twitter at @ZacWassink

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