- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 10, 2009

Detroit coach Jim Schwartz has made one thing clear from the start of his short tenure: He isn’t going to help the opposition write its game plan.

This week, that means a complete shutdown on news about rookie quarterback Matt Stafford’s injured right knee and his status for Sunday’s game against Pittsburgh.

“I’ll announce a starting quarterback on Sunday,” Schwartz said Friday. “There’s still a lot of time between now and the game, and we’ll have to see how things go.”

Stafford injured his knee in last weekend’s lopsided loss to Chicago, but neither he nor the team will confirm reports he sustained a dislocated kneecap that quickly returned into place.

The first pick in April’s draft missed practice Wednesday and Thursday but saw limited action in Friday’s individual drills. Schwartz would not comment how much work Stafford did in team drills, which are closed to the media, and Stafford declined to speak to the media.

“You saw what he did at the start, and all I’ll say beyond that is that his arrow is trending up,” Schwartz said.

If Stafford can’t play, the Lions will go with veteran Daunte Culpepper.

GIANTS: Quarterback Eli Manning returned to practice and showed no ill effects of the injured right heel that kept him out the previous two days.

Yet the team is still being cautious about his status for Sunday’s game against Oakland. Manning is listed as questionable, and coach Tom Coughlin said it will more than likely be a game-time decision whether he will play.

“If the medical people think he can play, then he will play,” Coughlin said. “We’ll evaluate him every day. I know he wants to play in the worst way, but we’re not going to go against the medical people. We’re not going to pencil him in and say he’s playing.”

BRONCOS: Running back Correll Buckhalter missed a third straight practice because of an ankle injury.

It appears rookie Knowshon Moreno will start in his place Sunday when the Broncos host New England. Buckhalter, who sprained his left ankle Sunday, leads the NFL with 7.2 yards per carry and leads the team with 267 yards rushing.

SEAHAWKS: Matt Hasselbeck has gone from excruciating pain to probable in four days.

Coach Jim Mora said after Hasselbeck completed his third consecutive practice that he expects his three-time Pro Bowl passer to start Sunday against Jacksonville. It will be his first game since he broke a rib Sept. 20 at San Francisco.

“Matt got better every day. He got more comfortable every day,” Mora said. “We’re going to list him as probable… and probable is a pretty good sign that he will play.”

COLTS: Safety Bob Sanders is doubtful for Sunday night’s game at Tennessee, marking the first time this season he has not been ruled out of a game.

Coach Jim Caldwell wouldn’t say whether the 2007 defensive player of the year would play. Sanders was a limited practice participant Wednesday and Thursday.

“He did fine — came through it in great shape,” Caldwell said. “I’m not real sure [if he’ll play]. He’s making good progress.”

TITANS: Defensive tackle Tony Brown did not want to open a note from the NFL. He had good reason. The league fined him $10,000 for two hits last week.

The NFL fined Brown for two hits on Jaguars quarterback David Garrard, one in which he made helmet-to-helmet contact and another in which Brown unnecessarily slammed Garrard to the ground.

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