The Detroit Lions are scheduled to open training camp down three starters. That's because they put running back Joique Bell, right tackle LaAdrian Waddle and defensive end Jason Jones on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list on Wednesday.
This move doesn't necessarily come as a big surprise given the lack of participation from these three players during last month's minicamp. Bell and Waddle are still recovering from January surgeries -- Bell had his Achilles and knee cleaned up, while Waddle had a partially torn ACL repaired -- and neither player took part in the Lions' offseason training program. As for Jones, he recently had arthroscopic knee surgery and was absent from the June minicamp as a result.
Putting these three players on the PUP list is likely a precautionary move as much as anything. There's no reason to expect that Bell and Jones will miss significant time, and even Waddle is hoping to be ready to go by Week 1 of the regular season. In the meantime, this move keeps the door open for these players to start the regular season on the PUP list if necessary. For now, all three players still count against the Lions' roster, but that's not the case in the regular season. Like with TJ Jones last year, being on the PUP list in the regular season means your roster spot can be used by someone else.
Given that all three of these players are starters, the Lions are certainly hoping that a move to the regular-season PUP list won't be necessary for Bell, Waddle or Jones. They can be activated at any time, and it's entirely possible that these players will all be back on the field next week. Then again, I suppose it's also possible that these players will miss all of training camp and sit out the first part of the regular season. The more likely scenario is something in between those two extremes, but hopefully it will turn out to be something closer to the former than the latter for the Lions' sake.