Ezekiel Ansah has been on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list since the day before training camp began. The Lions have kept information about Ansah close to the chest, choosing not to provide any details on what the injury is nor when they expect the team’s starting defensive end back on the field.
That all changed on Tuesday when general manager Bob Quinn took the podium and said unequivocally that he expects Ansah back soon: “I expect that Ziggy will be ready for Week 1.”
That’s huge news for a Lions team that is struggling to find healthy pass rushers on their roster. Detroit lost Kerry Hyder and Brandon Copeland to season-ending injuries during the preseason, and they’ll have to wait for Armonty Bryant to serve out his four-game suspension before he becomes available.
Last year, hindered by an ankle injury that held him out of three games, Ansah only managed 2.0 sacks in 2016. But as our friend Scott Kacsmar from Football Outsiders told us earlier in the month, he earned 22 hurries in under 500 snaps, which is a very productive total.
Head coach Jim Caldwell explained Ansah’s importance to the team during Tuesday’s press conference. “There are only a few guys that have the kind of explosion, power, size that he has,” Caldwell said. “We don’t have a lot of guys on our team like that, genetically.”
The exact nature of Ansah’s current injury is still unknown, but it appears he should be ready by the time the Lions kick off against the Arizona Cardinals in less than two weeks from today.