The Detroit Lions were back in Allen Park on Wednesday as they prepare for their upcoming Week 17 matchup with the Seattle Seahawks. The Lions are still sorting through their COVID-19 outbreak. Three more players were added to the reserve/COVID-19 list on Wednesday, while two others were removed.
One other player removed (on Monday) was starting quarterback Jared Goff, but don’t get too excited about his availability just yet, as a knee injury kept him out of practice on Wednesday.
Let’s take a look at the rest of the Lions’ official injury report for Wednesday, noting that the new injuries, changes in status, and new reserve/COVID-19 additions are bolded.
- WR Josh Reynolds — added on December 27
- TE Brock Wright — added on December 28
- RG Halapoulivaati Vaitai — added December 29
- DL Michael Brockers — added December 29
- QB Steven Montez (practice squad) — added on December 27
- WR Geronimo Allison (practice squad) — added December 29
With the new COVID-19 protocols established by the NFL on Tuesday, players are now eligible to return to action after five days as long as they meet the requirements established in the new guidelines.
These new rules could allow Reynolds to be available to play on Sunday but will make things a bit more challenging for Wright to clear ahead of the game. Vaitai and Brockers—who were added to the list on Wednesday—won't be able to clear in time unless they are vaccinated and hit a benchmark for their viral load, which would mean they could clear earlier. If they are unvaccinated, they cannot return in time for Sunday.
On Wednesday, Campbell noted just how critical Vaitai has been to the offensive line’s success this year.
“He’s big, he’s strong, and so he’s really what you’re looking for at guard,” Campbell said. “I mean, I feel like we’ve got a couple of good guards between he and Jonah (Jackson). He’s meant a lot, really. He’s one of the biggest reasons we’ve been running it as successfully as we have.”
Brockers is a leader on the defensive line, but with two rookies waiting in the wings looking for snaps, the team has the depth to overcome his absence. The Lions also returned Jashon Cornell from the reserve list this week, further helping potentially soften the blow.
Activated from reserve/COVID-19
- QB Jared Goff — removed on Monday
- WR Trinity Benson — removed on Wednesday
- OT Matt Nelson — removed on Wednesday
Goff was removed from the COVID-19 list on Monday, but as noted earlier, a knee injury kept him out of practice. See the “No Practice” section for more information.
If Reynolds is unable to clear protocols ahead of the game, Benson may be active for the first time in a month and could even be in line to see an increased workload.
Nelson returning is a big deal for the Lions. Not only do they get their sixth offensive lineman weapon back, but he may also be asked to take on some tight end duties, as that position group has been decimated recently.
Injured reserve updates
- TE Shane Zylstra (kneecap) was placed on the practice squad injured reserve on Monday
- LB Josh Woods (neck) was placed on injured reserve on Tuesday
- DL Jashon Cornell was activated from the reserve/non-football injury list on Tuesday
Cornell was removed from the reserve list on Tuesday. How much he will be needed moving forward is still to be determined by Brockers status, but he may be needed this week as the Lions have been operating with five defensive linemen on game days.
- QB Jared Goff (knee) - injured in Week 15
- FB Jason Cabinda (knee) - injured in Week 16
Goff took a shot to his knee in Week 15 but he was able to return after missing just one play and went on to lead the Lions' victory over the Cardinals. While a positive COVID-19 result is what kept him out of Week 16, there’s a real chance that even if he was COVID-free that his knee also would’ve prevented him from playing.
“I haven’t been able to be out there yet since the knee injury,” Goff told the media on Wednesday. “So it’s something I’m dealing with. Like I said, it’s day-to-day. Hopefully (I) can get it right.”
Further adding to the concerns over Goff potentially missing this weekend’s game—if you read between the line a bit— is the fact that the Lions made reserve quarterback Tim Boyle available to the media, something they typically only do on weeks when he is expected to play.
“Whether it’s Jared or myself, I think we’ll both be ready,” Boyle said.
Unfortunately, at this time, Goff’s status is truly an unknown, which could mean Boyle gets his third start of the season.
Superback Cabinda injured his knee against the Falcons and was unable to return to game action last Sunday. Campbell didn’t sound optimistic about Cabinda’s chances of playing this week, which further complicates the tight end issues, as he has held a TE3/H-back role all season.
- LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin (shoulder)
Reeves-Maybin has been dealing with a shoulder injury for a few weeks now, but based on his play on the field, you wouldn’t know. Wednesday is likely a scaled-back day for a vital cog in the Lions' defense.
- RB D’Andre Swift (shoulder) - didn’t play in Week 16, expected to play in Week 17
- EDGE Julian Okwara (ankle) - didn’t play in Week 16
Campbell made it clear, the Lions have no plans to shut Swift down for the final two games of the season, and actually expect him to return to action this week.
“We feel like he’s going to be ready to go this week, and he’s been wanting to go,” Campbell said.
Swift backed up that notion Wednesday afternoon when he spoke to the media:
“I’m excited to just be able to contribute to the team in any way possible,” Swift said. “It’s been a rough four weeks, being away from the team, away from the guys... the guys have been doing great, and I’m grateful to be able to get back out there and play with them.”
.@DAndreSwift is excited to be back. pic.twitter.com/myHkJ576NO— Detroit Lions (@Lions) December 29, 2021
Okwara got in two limited practices last week but was unable to play in the game. Starting the week out with a full practice suggests he is progressing towards playing this week.
No longer listed on the injury report
- WR Kalif Raymond (shoulder)
- LG Jonah Jackson (back)