We’ve waited a week for an update on Detroit Lions punt returner/defensive back Jamal Agnew, who was carted off after a serious-looking injury against the Green Bay Packers. Unfortunately, it appears the news is bad. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Lions are planning on placing Agnew on injured reserve this week:
Lions planning to place All-Pro return man and CB Jamal Agnew on injured reserve this week due to a knee injury he suffered against Green Bay, but he could be back later this season if Detroit is making a playoff push, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 15, 2018
However, with the bad news comes a little good news. If Agnew could realistically return for a playoff push, it likely means he did not suffer a torn ACL, which former NFL doctor David J. Chao feared after watching the video of the injury. A torn ACL typically requires surgery and at least six months of recovery.
NFL rules require a player to stay on injured reserve for at least eight weeks, meaning if Agnew returns, he wouldn’t be able to play until Week 15’s game against the Bills. Unfortunately, had the Lions placed Agnew on injured reserve a week earlier, it would mean Agnew could return for Week 14 against the Cardinals, but who knows whether he’d be healthy enough to do so anyways?
Last week, Detroit signed Lenzy Pipkins to help build up the Lions’ secondary, which is suffering from several injuries right now. Aside from Agnew, Teez Tabor (groin), Quandre Diggs (broken hand) and Tavon Wilson (back) all are dealing with ailments. However, the Lions haven’t practiced since last Sunday’s game, and their statuses going forward remain unclear.
For now, the Lions will have to deal without one of their more electric players on both offense, defense and special teams. While it won’t be hard to replace his minimal offensive production, the Lions will have a tough time replacing Agnew’s punt return abilities. Last week, we broke down some replacement possibilities, but none are likely to match the productivity that Agnew had last year, which earned him All Pro honors.