The one major hope for all NFL fans during the preseason is that their favorite team goes without a major injury. Unfortunately for Detroit Lions fans, their team couldn’t even go a single quarter without failing that goal. Kerry Hyder was lost for the year after tearing his Achilles against the Colts, and Brandon Copeland quickly followed with a torn pectoral later in the preseason opener.
The situation wasn’t quite as dire this week during the Lions’ preseason game against the New York Jets. A few players hobbled off the field, but most returned to the lineup. One player that did not return, however, was receiver TJ Jones.
After the first-string offense left the field, it was announced that Jones was dealing with a hamstring issue, and the team announced he would not return to the game. Several beat writers noted that Jones appeared to be in pain and frustrated on the sidelines.
From the eyes of @cmonarrez, TJ Jones grabbing at his left hamstring. Golladay alert goes to red!— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) August 20, 2017
TJ Jones banged up, looks like his night is done. He's showing frustration on the sideline.— Justin Rogers (@Justin_Rogers) August 20, 2017
After the game, head coach Jim Caldwell refused to speculate how serious the injury is. “I’m not real sure. I’ll just tell you that. I’m not real sure,” Caldwell said.
The Lions boast a particularly deep set of receivers on the roster. If Jones misses any time, Kenny Golladay will undoubtedly take his spot in the lineup with the first-string offense. In fact, just days ago Golladay assumed that exact role with the first team for a single practice. Golladay even got a series with the first-team offense on Saturday against the Jets.
But if Jones’ injury is long-term, it will open up a spot on the roster for one of the bubble receivers. Jace Billingsley, Jared Abbrederis and Keshawn Martin all have shown promise through camp and the preseason, and if Detroit decides to keep four or five receivers, a Jones injury could open a roster spot for one or two of those players.
For now, we’ll have to wait and see what the news is on Jones’ injury. The Lions tend to keep injury news close to the vest, so it may be a while before we hear anything definitive. We’ll have our fingers crossed for Jones, who seemed to finally be turning a corner for his NFL career.