When Ezekiel Ansah was first placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list just before the beginning of the Detroit Lions 2018 training camp, it was unclear what exactly was ailing the star defensive end. Ansah had dealt with a myriad of injuries throughout his career, including ankle, back, and most recently a knee injury. This offseason, Ansah had a minor surgery on that knee, so it was presumed that may have been the cause of his absence.
Ansah has since been taken off the PUP list and is now back at Lions practice, but it turns out the knee injury probably wasn’t what kept him out for over a week. According to the Detroit Free Press’ Dave Birkett, Ansah actually suffered a hamstring injury while he was performing the conditioning test for camp.
He underwent minor knee surgery in the offseason and started training camp on the physically unable to perform list, though a person familiar with that decision told the Free Press that Ansah’s delayed start to camp was due to him tweaking his hamstring during a conditioning test and not his surgery.
There are a few ways to take this news. First, let’s look at it from the optimistic side. If this report is true, that meant Ansah was prepared to enter training camp fully healthy for the first time in a few years. Sure, he ended up getting injured, but it was clearly just a minor “tweak” that kept him out barely over a week. Hamstrings can be tricky, so the Lions may have simply been being overly cautious to keep him out at all.
The more negative outlook of this news is that it’s another injury to add to Ansah’s long list of ailments. He may have came into training camp healthy, but he couldn’t even get through a conditioning test without coming up hobbling. It may be good news that Ansah’s knee isn’t a problem, but adding another potential problem isn’t exactly good news, is it?
The truth is this is neither good nor bad news, it’s a little bit of both. Hopefully, the hamstring issue is not something that will continue to linger and Ansah can go out there and play for a full 16-game season. Until that happens, the skepticism will remain.