The Lions have been hit by a flu bug this week and have required some alternative practice methods as a preventative measure. On Wednesday they held two walkthroughs, one for the offense and one for the defense. On Thursday, they held out almost all of their offensive and defensive linemen, with 21 players missing practice entirely. On Friday, with most of the team feeling better, they held a standard practice with only a handful of players missing due to the flu.
After an unusual week, let’s take a closer look at the Lions' injury designations for Sunday’s game.
- RB D’Andre Swift (shoulder)
- EDGE Julian Okwara (ankle)
- LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin (shoulder)
Swift was a long shot to play this week, and after being unable to practice, it’s not surprising he has been ruled out. He will have a chance to return to action next week when the Lions host the Arizona Cardinals. Unfortunately, Jamaal Williams has been placed on the reserve/COVID list and will also be unavailable. Look for rookie Jermar Jefferson and Godwin Igwebuike to split running back responsibilities in Denver.
Okwara wasn’t able to practice this week, and after placing Trey Flowers on injured reserve last Saturday, the Lions are incredibly thin on the edge. Starters Charles Harris and Austin Bryant are both questionable with the flu, leaving only Jesse Lemonier and Rashod Berry as the team's healthy edge rushers. Don’t be surprised if the Lions get some of their off-the-ball linebackers involved this week, specifically Derrick Barnes who played on the edge for three years at Purdue.
Reeves-Maybin was unable to practice all week once again and will miss his second consecutive game. Look for Barnes and Josh Woods to fill the void at BUCK linebacker this week.
- TE T.J. Hockenson (hand)
Hockenson was unable to practice all week and his hand injury will very likely cost him this week’s game. It’s potentially a big blow for the Lions’ offense, and a big opportunity for UDFA rookie Brock Wright to step into the TE1 role and build on his first career touchdown reception last week.
- RT Penei Sewell (illness, shoulder)
- LG Jonah Jackson (illness)
- RG Halapoulivaati Vaitai (illness)
- OL Matt Nelson (ankle)
- DL Michael Brockers (knee/illness)
- DL Nick Williams (illness)
- NT Alim McNeill (illness)
- DL Levi Onwuzurike (illness)
- NT John Penisini (illness)
- EDGE Austin Bryant (shoulder)
- EDGE Charles Harris (illness)
- K Riley Patterson (illness)
Virtually every player in this section is listed as dealing with the flu outbreak and their statuses will each be determined by how well they process the illness over the next 24 hours. With nine (!) starters on the fence, this could go very bad, very quickly but it’s worth noting that coach Dan Campbell said, “We are on the tail end of it and guys are coming back,” which should leave some room for optimism.
The players in this section fans should be most concerned about are Onwuzurike, McNeill, Harris, and Bryant as none of the four were able to practice this week.
Sewell and Brockers are each dealing with an injury and the flu, but both got in limited practices on Friday, suggesting they both have a decent chance to play.
Nelson, the only player in this section not dealing with the illness, also got in a limited practice and has a chance to play for the first time in four weeks.
Not listed with an injury designation
- QB Jared Goff (illness)
- RB Jermar Jefferson (illness)
- LT Taylor Decker (Non-football-related)
- OL Will Holden (Non-football-related)
- OG Tommy Kraemer (Non-football-related)
- EDGE Jesse Lemonier (Non-football-related)
- EDGE Rashod Berry (Non-football-related)
Goff was ill to start the week, but after staying at home through Wednesday, he was able to return to full practices and does not carry an injury designation. He will start in Denver.
Jefferson missed practice on Thursday but was able to participate in full on Friday. With Swift and Williams out, He will be called upon for a big role this weekend and will likely start at running back.
The players who were held out of Thursday’s practice for non-injury reasons, still technically remain on the injury report, but won’t carry injury designations into this game.