It has been a long, frustrating three months—both for fans and players—since we’ve last seen DeAndre Levy on the football field on Sunday. With the secrecy surrounding his injury both from last year and this year, there has been an endless cycle of speculation on Levy’s true health, his motivation and whether he will ever play a single down of football again.
But it appears that saga is very close to ending. According to several Detroit Lions beat writers, Levy saw a significant increase in workload this week and appears ready to make a return against the Chicago Bears.
From the Detroit Free Press’ Dave Birkett:
There’s no guarantee that Levy plays Sunday against the Chicago Bears (1 p.m., CBS), but all indications are that he’ll be back in some sort of part-time capacity. Maybe he plays 25% of the snaps, maybe he plays 50%. I’m not sure how the playing time will shake out at the end of the day, but I do think he’ll be back in a Lions uniform before long.
I know what you’re thinking. “We’ve heard this before. I’ll believe it when I see it. How is this any different from what we’ve been told in prior week?” I get the concern, and I understand the hesitation in believing it. After all, Birkett very clearly states that he may not return this week right off the bat.
But this is all very different from what we’ve been hearing in the past few weeks. While we constantly hear that Levy is “getting closer” or “could play next week,” we’ve never heard such optimism this late in the week. Last week, reports were out by Thursday that Levy wasn’t likely to play against the Saints. It was clear early on he wouldn’t play on Thanksgiving.
This is the first time a reporter has claimed that they believe Levy will play in some sort of capacity since Week 1, and considering that news comes after a full week’s worth of practice is definitely of significance.
Birkett isn’t alone in his reporting either. Kyle Meinke of MLive.com had this to say about the situation:
But he's practiced the last three weeks, and word is he's finally starting to feel right. He's expected to end his nearly three-month silence with reporters this week too.
Right now, all signs indicate this could be the week Levy returns
It’s almost a certainty that Levy will be listed as questionable in Friday’s injury report—especially since the NFL has removed “probable” as a listing—so we’ll have to wait until the inactives on Sunday to find out definitively. But for now, there is a real reason to be optimistic about Levy’s chances.