- Chris Mortensen, NFL reporter
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Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford visited with noted orthopedist Dr. James Andrews on Monday and will continue to rehab his separated shoulder, but a source told ESPN that surgery has not been ruled out as an option.
The source also said that Stafford could opt for a cortisone injection after rehabbing the shoulder during the next two weeks to see if he could return before the end of the season.
The Lions (2-7) released a statement Monday confirming Stafford's visit to Andrews, but said only that Andrews' diagnosis was "consistent with the evaluation and diagnosis" of their own medical staff.
Sources confirmed to Mortensen on Sunday that Stafford originally injured his right shoulder early in the second quarter of Detroit's Week 9 loss to the New York Jets. Stafford continued to play effectively until suffering a game-ending Grade 3 shoulder separation with six minutes left in the game.
Stafford grabbed his right shoulder initially when he was tackled near the sideline trying to evade a sack by the Jets' Bryan Thomas at the 14:11 mark of the second quarter. Ten minutes later, after throwing a pass, he winced and grabbed his shoulder without any physical contact. Finally, Stafford left the game with 6:06 left in the fourth quarter when Thomas tackled him from behind on a scramble.
It is unknown if Stafford suffered any serious damage on the second-quarter hit, but Stafford continued to play and made some effective throws, completing 20 of 36 passes for 240 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions on the day. He did not report any significant concerns to the medical or coaching staff at the time.
After consulting a preliminary MRI last week , Andrews informed Stafford and the Lions that he believes Stafford's injury is not as severe as what Sam Bradford suffered last season at Oklahoma, according to sources.
Andrews operated on Bradford's shoulder last October and after intensive rehab, the Rams' No. 1 draft pick has emerged as a leading candidate for the NFL's offensive rookie of the year award.
Stafford was Detroit's No. 1 pick in the 2009 draft. He had no durability issues in 36 starts at the University of Georgia but he has only played in 13 of 24 games since he joined the Lions.
Chris Mortensen is ESPN's Senior NFL Analyst.