It's unclear just how long kicker Jason Hanson will be out after injuring the MCL in his right knee on Sunday against the Jets. We know he's out for at least this week, though, because the Lions will sign former Michigan State Spartan Dave Rayner to fill in for him. Rayner tried out along with Shaun Suisham for the Lions kicking job today and will be the one who gets signed.
Rayner has bounced around the league quite a bit, playing for the Colts, Packers, Chiefs, Chargers and Bengals during his career. He spent the 2008 preseason with the Lions, but he hasn't kicked in the regular season since that year. When he was with Detroit, he made six of his seven field goal attempts, which all came in a span of two games.
At this point, it's unknown if Rayner will be here for a few weeks while Hanson recovers or if this will be a permanent thing for the rest of the season. How long Hanson will be out depends on how severe his MCL injury is, which we could very well find out when a move is made to make room for Rayner. It's possible the Lions could put Hanson on injured reserve, which would end his season eight games early.
Hanson got hurt on a field goal attempt in the second half of the Jets game. He made the short kick and then had New York's Trevor Pryce fall right on his leg. Hanson wasn't braced to protect himself at all, and Pryce weighs nearly 300 pounds, so you can imagine how much that hurt Hanson. It was just an accident, though, and you have to respect what Pryce did after the game, via Jim Schwartz.
"Rather than talk about Bart Scott, let me talk about a really classy guy in Trevor Pryce. Trevor Pryce was the guy that ran into Jason Hanson and got Jason Hanson hurt. Trevor Pryce sought me out after the game to apologize for getting Jason hurt. He said, ‘Coach I just wanted to let you know, it wasn’t intentional. My own player sort of hit me into him and I lost my balance and I feel awful that your kicker got hurt.’ To me, that’s a very classy player. I think that speaks a lot about the Jets and the kind of guys that they have."
Amazingly, Hanson has only missed one game so far in his 19-year career. He played in only 15 games in 2005, but every other season going back to 1992, Hanson has appeared in all 16 regular season games. With this injury, it looks like Hanson will miss an extended amount of time for the first time in his career.