It’s only Week 5, but the Detroit Lions have been hit by the injury bug... hard.
In the last 24 hours, the team lost two of its best players to injured reserve. EDGE rusher Romeo Okwara landed on IR with an Achilles injury, ending his season prematurely and beginning the long road to recovery. And while center Frank Ragnow is expected to return from his stint on IR, he will miss at least the next three weeks, and likely longer.
“We think he could be down for a pretty long time,” coach Dan Campbell said of Ragnow on Wednesday.
On the active roster, the news isn’t much better as several of the Lions' top available players are also banged up with injuries that have either limited or kept them out of practice on Wednesday.
Let’s take a closer look at the injury report.
No practice on Wednesday
- TE T.J. Hockenson (knee)
- OT Penei Sewel (ankle)
Hockenson played 82 percent of snaps last Sunday and didn’t seem worse for wear, though he did take a couple big shots during the game. Jeremy Reisman was in Allen Park today and he noted that while Hockenson was not in pads, he “appeared to be in good spirits” during the portions of practice open to the media. We won’t know more about Hockenson’s status until after tomorrow’s practice, but it’s possible that after losing several top players to injury this week, the Lions are just taking it easy with their star tight end.
Sewell was injured in the second half of last Sunday’s game, and while he was visibly hurting, he didn’t miss a single snap. Now, three days later, the Lions are in no hurry to rush him back onto the field and risk him further injuring himself.
“He’s a little banged up,” Campbell said of Sewell on Wednesday. “We’ll find out. We’ll see where he’s at. He’ll probably be limited today if not out, and then we’ll go from there.”
This sounds like the Lions are still in the evaluation process with Sewell’s ankle and are making plans in case he isn’t able to play against the Vikings this weekend. Those plans could include a starting role for Will Holden—he has started at left tackle in the NFL previously—or a shuffling of the offensive line, where Halapoulivaati Vaitai—who also has started games at left tackle in the NFL—shifts outside and Logan Stenberg gets the start at right guard.
- RB D’Andre Swift (groin)
- RB Jamaal Williams (hip)
- DL Michael Brockers (shoulder)
- EDGE Trey Flowers (knee)
Flowers missed six practices and two games over the last two weeks, but he was finally able to return to the practice field today, and he was sporting some protective equipment on his right leg.
Trey Flowers was back at practice, though he’s trying to play with his leg braced and taped up like this pic.twitter.com/TKasACLH2s— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) October 6, 2021
It’s worth noting that Flowers was previously listed with shoulder and knee injuries, but is now listed as only having a knee injury. Some positive news on his recovery process.
If Flowers is able to play, the Lions will likely keep the edge rotation they were using with Charles Harris maintaining a starting role. If Flowers is unable to go because of his knee, Austin Bryant and Julian Okwara will be competing for Flowers role. Jesse Lemonier was also signed from the practice squad Wednesday to give the team more depth on the edge.
Swift and Brockers have been limited in practice for several weeks now, but come game time they have been able to perform without limitations.
Williams is new to the injury report this week and it’s not overly surprising as he was running mostly between the tackles in Chicago, taking some lumps. This also feels like the team is managing his health and there’s not much to worry about at this time, but it’s worth keeping an eye on his practice status for the rest of the week.