As reported late last night, the Detroit Lions have signed offensive lineman Tim Lelito. The Lions brought Lelito in for a visit during free agency, but the veteran guard ended up signing with the Tennessee Titans. Though he originally made the Titans 53-man roster, he was eventually cut before the first game of the season.
To make room for the signing—and likely the reason for the acquisition—the Lions placed Joe Dahl on injured reserve.
Dahl popped up on the injury report last week with a lower leg injury. It was presumed to be a minor injury, as Dahl was limited in practice all week. However, the Lions’ 2016 fifth-round pick was a surprise inactive for the Falcons game, signaling that his injury was perhaps a little more serious than we had thought.
Now that Dahl is on reserve-injured, he is not eligible to play for the team for eight weeks. The Lions are allowed to bring back two players from IR this year, as long as the players were placed on the list after the 53-man cutdown. However, players placed on IR must wait six weeks to return to practice and eight weeks before they can officially rejoin the 53-man roster.
That means if Joe Dahl is to return to play, the earliest he’d be available is the Week 12 Thanksgiving matchup against the Minnesota Vikings.
The Lions, however, are probably hoping they won’t need Dahl. Last week, waiver pickup Zac Kerin was forced into the lineup due to injuries to Travis Swanson and Dahl. Swanson appears to be close to a return, as Dave Birkett noticed him walking without a limp on Monday. That means that newly added Lelito is likely just a backup for now, as Graham Glasgow will shift to shift back to his left guard position.