Theo Riddick hasn’t taken the field in nearly eight months. Back in early December, Riddick was left out of the lineup against the Chicago Bears with a mysterious wrist injury. Riddick remained on the active roster for a few weeks until the Lions finally placed him on injured reserve. It wasn’t revealed until late March that Riddick underwent surgery on both wrists.
Because of that surgery, Riddick was held out of both organized team activities and minicamp earlier this offseason. But according to the Detroit Free Press, Riddick is expected to be ready for the beginning of training camp on Saturday. “Riddick’s surgically repaired wrists are structurally sound,” Dave Birkett reported.
This comes as welcome news for the Lions, who have had questions surrounding their running backs all offseason. Ameer Abdullah, the team’s No. 1 back, is recovering from a Lisfranc injury that cost him nearly the entire 2016 season. Abdullah has been a full participant all offseason, but considering he had shoulder surgery the previous offseason, many expressed concern over Abdullah’s durability.
Veterans report for training camp on Saturday, but the Lions may choose to place injured players on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list before then. Players on the PUP list cannot participate in practice until cleared by doctors. If said player remains on the PUP list throughout training camp and the preseason, a team may place them on the Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform list (regular season PUP).
While someone like Taylor Decker, who tore his labrum earlier in the offseason, is likely to start training camp on the PUP list, Birkett is reporting that Riddick is expected to avoid the list.
That means Detroit is expected to enter training camp with their top two running backs healthy for the first time in several years. Last year, Abdullah started the first month of training camp with a red jersey on as he continued to heal from shoulder surgery. The year before that, Joique Bell was placed on the PUP list to begin camp.
Despite missing the final four games of the 2016 season, Riddick finished sixth among NFL running backs with 53 catches for 371 yards and a league-leading five receiving touchdowns.