The Detroit Lions hobbled across the finish line of the 2016 season after, like any other team, dealing with a myriad of injuries. Seasons were lost, backups were called upon, and backups of backups were thrust into starting roles.
Monday morning, most of the Lions roster was back at the team’s practice facility in Allen Park to wrap up the season and clean out their lockers. They also met with the media for a short period of time. Injuries were a hot topic amongst the media, so here’s a quick update on some of the bigger injuries the Lions dealt with in 2016.
Stafford reiterated that his finger was never broken, and he doesn’t believe it will require surgery. As Stafford said on Saturday night, this is the type of injury that requires one thing: rest.
However, there were reports over the past week or so that Stafford’s injury was a “mallet injury,” which is different than a simple dislocation. When asked about this, Stafford seemed to confirm those reports:
Matthew Stafford asked if his finger was a mallet injury said: "Something like that, probably." Cc @ProFootballDoc— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) January 9, 2017
While the difference in diagnosis won’t affect his recovery, it does give us a better look at what he was dealing with. According to former NFL doctor David J. Chao, a mallet injury is much tougher to deal with as a quarterback:
“A mallet finger injury is significantly harder to deal with than a finger dislocation as it affects his grip since he is not allowed to bend the tip of his middle finger. This could explain his declined performance post injury.”
Abdullah was available to speak for the first time in months, and while he did not go into great detail on his injury, he reassured folks that he would be ready and up to speed in 2017.
Abdullah said he expects to be full go by the start of spring ball— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) January 9, 2017
Was he ever close to a return? Abdullah couldn’t—or wouldn’t—say.
Ameer Abdullah, when asked if he felt he could have played: "Don’t know. Don’t know. Don’t know. Can’t give you an honest answer on that."— Kyle Meinke (@kmeinke) January 9, 2017
Riddick’s injury remains one of the most peculiar among the Lions. No one could ever find when and where Riddick hurt his wrist, but that’s not even the most confusing part. The Lions kept Riddick on the normal roster for a few weeks, with Riddick insisting his wrist was not broken. Soon after, out of nowhere, the team placed him on injured reserve, ending his season.
The thought was maybe the doctors finally opted surgery was the best option for Riddick, but on Monday, Riddick said surgery never happened:
Riddick did shake his head "no" when asked if he had surgery, which obviously doesn't explain the cast— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) January 9, 2017
Swanson’s injury is the most concerning, both in the short term and long term. After suffering a concussion at some point during the Saints game, Swanson missed the final five games, including Detroit’s playoff contest against the Seahawks. Though Swanson made progress and eventually returned to practice, he was still not able to get back into the starting lineup, suggesting this was a severe concussion.
Concussions have forced many players to retire at an early age, and that was understandably a concern with Swanson among many, but by Swanson’s demeanor in the locker room, that doesn’t appear to be part of his plan going forward:
Travis Swanson said he'll keep his health "to myself." Said he's excited for next year.— Brad Galli (@BradGalli) January 9, 2017
Obviously, concussions tend to be injuries that can reappear during one’s football career, so that is something to keep an eye on going forward. But, for now, it appears Swanson is content continuing his football career.