Stafford said Wednesday he will not have surgery on his right throwing shoulder. He said Dr. James Andrews, well known for performing orthopedic surgery on high-profile athletes, concurred with the team's evaluation that surgery isn't necessary at this time and he will focus instead on rehabilitation.
Stafford's separated right shoulder will keep him out of a second straight game Sunday and his seventh overall this season. Shaun Hill will start against Dallas in a matchup of 2-7 teams and running back Kevin Smith won't back up Jahvid Best because he's scheduled for thumb surgery Thursday and an indefinite absence.
The Lions don't know -- or at least they're not saying -- when Stafford will return, but coach Jim Schwartz was relatively encouraged by his visit this week with Andrews.
"When you get consensus among orthopedics regarding shoulder injuries, it gives you a comfort level of where the player is and confidence to go along with the rehab," Schwartz said.
"It's nice to know that rehab is the option," Stafford said. "I'm going to try to do the best I can to get it as strong as I possibly can to get out there."
Stafford said his current injury is similar to the previous one when the AC joint in his throwing shoulder was separated in the opener when he was sacked by Chicago's Julius Peppers. The rehab is not different from the last one when he was out for six weeks and missed five games.
Even if Stafford is out as long as he was earlier this season and is able to play only one or two games, he's determined to do it.
"I don't care if it's the first game of the season, last game of the season, I don't care what our record is," he said. "If I'm healthy -- I'm playing."
Stafford has played just 13 games since Detroit drafted him No. 1 overall out of Georgia and he'll miss a 13th game on Sunday on the road against his hometown Cowboys.
"It obviously would've been a little bit special playing there," said Stafford, who starred at Highland Park (Texas) High School.