Quarterback Matt-hew Stafford took a tumble to the dirt in the Detroit Lions' NFL exhibition game against the host Oakland Raiders on Aug. 25.
He came up shaking his left - non-throwing - hand and Lions faithful no doubt took a deep breath and said "Oh, not again!"
Visions of Detroit making its second straight playoff run after numerous miserable seasons probably took a big hit, especially when team medical personnel put a thick wrap on Stafford's hand when he made it to the Lions' bench.
The hand proceeded to swell and ice was used to try to reduce that swelling.
Even though it's wasn't his right hand, a serious injury to his left no doubt would have hampered his play if he was even able to play.
The injury turned out to be nothing serious, but the Lions can't afford to lose Stafford to injury. Not again.
He has already been sidelined a couple of times in his brief NFL career with major injuries.
Now that Stafford has blossomed into one of the league's top QBs, he's crucial to the Lions' offense in general and their playoff hopes in particular.
He and wide receiver deluxe Calvin "Megatron" Johnson are the Lions' two best players. An injury to either one, especially for any length of time, would cripple the Lions' offense and make it difficult for the team to win.
Shaun Hill is a capable backup QB for the Lions. He has shown some talent in the past.
In 2010, he started 10 games when Stafford was hurt, completing 257 of 416 passes for 2,686 yards and 16 touchdowns.
As a starter, he's 13-3, with a 9-3 record at home.
On a recent Lions' exhibition game against the Ravens, the TV analyst claimed Hill is the NFL's best backup QB.
But he's certainly no Stafford, who threw for 5,038 yards and 41 touchdowns last season.
No knock on Hill, but the Lions and their fans don't want him to see anything but mop-up action. If he starts, it means Stafford is injured.
Nobody in the Lions' kingdom wants that. Nobody.
There's a lot of NFL rules that protect league QBs. Hopefully, they will help protect Stafford and keep him on the field.
Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251. His email address is email@example.com.