The Detroit Lions were back on the practice field on Wednesday as they prepare for a Week 6 matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals at Ford Field on Sunday.
The week opened with the Lions getting the terrible news that Frank Ragnow would have surgery on his injured toe and would not be able to return to the field this season. At his morning press conference coach Dan Campbell confirmed the surgery to local media.
“Frank had surgery yesterday,” Campbell said. “It went well, and yeah, he’ll be down for the year, so we’re going to miss him. He didn’t want to do it either. He did not want to do it, but it was the right thing.”
Campbell acknowledged that if Ragnow didn't have surgery there was “a chance” Ragnow may have returned at the end of the year, but the team wanted to do right and take care of their star player.
“Maybe there’s a chance you get him back at the very end of the year,” Campbell continued, “but there’s a bigger chance of how ever it scars in, it’s not properly healed the right way and we’re dealing with this for the rest of his career, or it gets arthritic sooner than later. And then it’s like, ‘What are we doing?’ So, it was the right thing to do. It was significant enough to where it needed to be fixed properly and let it heal properly.”
While Ragnow’s season is over, there was some positive injury news that came out of today’s presser when Campbell confirmed Taylor Decker and Kevin Strong would begin practicing today.
Returned to practice, Still on IR
- LT Taylor Decker (finger) — Day 1 of 21-day evaluation period
- DL Kevin Strong (thigh) — Day 1 of 21-day evaluation period
As Decker and Strong return to the practice field, they begin their first day of a 21-day evaluation period. During this time, the pair remain on injured reserve and do not count against the active roster, meaning they will not be on the injury report.
“(Decker) and (Kevin) Strong, we’re going to start their clock today,” Campbell said. “We’ll start working them into practice and see where that goes. That’s about all I’ve got. That’s about all I can tell you. I don’t know – we’ll just see where Decker goes and how he feels and just take it from there.”
If they are cleared to return to game action, which can happen at any time, the Lions will activate them to the 53-man roster, thus allowing them to play in games. If, for some reason, either are not cleared by the end of their 21-day evaluation period, the team will either release the player or place them on season-ending injured reserve.
Per reports from the media in Allen Park, including our own Jeremy Reisman, Decker was seen wearing what appeared to be a cast in his left hand during the portions of practice available to the media.
Now, Let’s take a closer look at the official injury report from Wednesday.
No practice on Wednesday
- TE T.J. Hockenson (knee)
- EDGE Trey Flowers (knee)
- CB Amani Oruwariye (hip)
- CB/KR Corey Ballentine (hamstring)
Oruwariye is the big new name on this list, as it appears he suffered a hip injury during the Vikings game despite playing 100 percent of the snaps on Sunday.
Detroit is obviously a bit shorthanded at the cornerback position already with both Jeff Okudah and Ifeatu Melifonwu on injured reserve. To help add some depth to the position, the Lions signed undrafted rookie Mark Gilbert from the Steelers’ practice squad this week. While he’s unlikely to start if Oruwariye can’t go this week, he does provide some much-needed depth.
Joining Oruwariye with the trainers was Hockenson, who injured his knee against the Chicago Bears in Week 4 and missed or was limited in practice last week, though he was able to play on 81 percent of the offensive snaps against the Minnesota Vikings.
Flowers has been on the injury report with a knee issue for several weeks now, but he was able to play on 78 percent of defensive snaps last week after missing the two weeks prior.
It’s still early in the week, and it’s possible either player reaggravated their injuries, but this looks like a rest/management day, which is a common trend for this coaching staff.
Ballentine injured his hamstring during last week’s game and was unable to finish the contest. If he is unable to play this Sunday, Godwin Igwebuike would likely takeover kick returning duties again.
- G Jonah Jackson (shoulder)
- RB D’Andre Swift (groin)
- RB Jamaal Williams (hip)
Jonah Jackson is a new addition to the report with a shoulder injury. He played in every snap last week, so unless this was an injury suffered in the middle of Wednesday's practice, this doesn’t seem like a particularly worrisome injury (yet).
Swift has been nursing a groin injury all season and he has consistently been getting limited work in practices as a way of reducing the risk of aggravation and pain management. Each week, the strategy has worked and Swift has been able to contribute an expected amount of snaps on game day.
Williams showed up on last week’s injury report with a hip injury, and while he was limited during practices, it didn't appear to limit him during the game. Like Swift, his inclusion appears to be precautionary in nature.
No longer on injury report
- DL Michael Brockers (shoulder)
- OT Penei Sewell (ankle)
Brockers has been dealing with a shoulder injury since training camp and had been on the injury report since the regular season began. He was able to get in limited practices during that time, and got his first full practice last Friday. He did not carry an injury designation into the game.
Sewell didn’t miss a snap against the Vikings, but his play was not on par with what we had seen in previous weeks, suggesting his ankle could have been bothering him. However, with him off the injury report completely this week, it appears he may be feeling significantly better.