Let’s take a look at the rest of the Lions’ official injury report for Friday, noting that the new injuries, changes in status, and new reserve/COVID-19 additions are bolded.
- WR Josh Reynolds — added on December 27
- WR Kalif Raymond — added on December 30
- 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
- Defensive backs coach Aubrey Pleasant — added December 31
“We’re planning on getting Josh back tomorrow,” coach Dan Campbell said at his Friday morning press conference. “We’ll see how he feels, but we can get him back technically tomorrow as long as he’s asymptomatic. I think he’s trending the right way.”
While Reynolds may return, it’s going to be more challenging for Raymond to play, as he was just added to the list on Thursday. If he can’t play, Campbell discussed the options to replace him.
“We’ve got Trinity Benson, who’s back off COVID, so he’ll be ready to go,” Campbell explained. “And then, the normal. You’ve got Tom Kennedy, you’ve got Amon-Ra (St. Brown), you’ve got – well, I guess that’s it, right? It’s those guys. And, (KhaDarel) Hodge, you’ve got Hodge, excuse me. So, we’ll have the numbers. We’ve got our new two tight ends and we’ve got our halfbacks and we’ve got an offensive live. So, we’ll make do.”
The Lions may need to lean on their new tight ends, as Wright is right on the fringe of being cleared—and may not even be eligible depending on what time of the day on Sunday his five-day COVID-19 protocol window expires.
Vaitai and Brockers wouldn’t clear their five-day window in time for the game and the only way they could be cleared in time is if they were vaccinated, tested negative, and had a low enough viral load.
If Vaitai misses the game, look for UDFA rookie Tommy Kraemer to get the start at right guard, his third start of the season and second at right guard. Brockers would likely be replaced by a committee, but rookie Levi Onwuzurike would likely take over the starting role.
Pleasant won’t be available to coach the Lions secondary this week and “Defensive Assistant Brian Duker and Defensive Coordinator Aaron Glenn will assume Pleasant’s responsibilities on game day,” per team reporter Tim Twentyman.
- FB Jason Cabinda (knee)
With Cabinda unable to play this week and no clear backup fullback available, running backs coach/assistant head coach Duce Staley said that both Craig Reynolds and Jamaal Williams asked to take on the role this week (and possibly next).
“That’s where Craig and Jamaal will come in,” Staley said on Friday. “We’ve got guys that are raising their hand to play that position, and that’s Craig and Jamaal. That says a lot about the room. (For) those guys, it’s all about the team, and they’ll tell you that.”
- QB Jared Goff (knee)
With Goff unable to practice at all this week—due to the ankle he injured in Week 15—the Lions will most likely turn to Tim Boyle for the third time this season, though a doubtful designation means they are holding out some hope.
“He’s had a good week and he did exactly what we thought he would,” Campbell said of Boyle. “He doesn’t look like somebody that’s frazzled or frustrated or has lost confidence. He looks better. He looks like he has learned from it, accepted it, and he’s ready to go to the next challenge.”
- LB Curtis Bolton (back)
Bolton, who was just signed this week, was added to the injury report on Thursday and saw limited practices the last two days. Mid-week injuries are typically not good, but the fact that he did get in some work is encouraging. Bolton is likely LB4 this week, which means mainly special teams duties, but look for practice squad linebacker Tavante Beckett to be elevated (likely Saturday) for depth and insurance purposes.
Not listed with an injury designation
- RB D’Andre Swift (shoulder)
- EDGE Julian Okwara (ankle)
- LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin (shoulder)
- CB Saivion Smith (illness)
Swift was able to get in a complete week of full practices and will be ready to step back into his starting running back role.
“Yeah, he looks good,” Campbell said of Swift. “You can tell that he’s comfortable and he’s got his confidence up. He’s ready. We were still getting him back in the flow last week. ‘Do we think he’ll be ready? What is his shoulder?’ But this week, you know it. You can see it. You can feel it. He’s looked great all week... So, he’s ready to go. I know he’s been wanting to go for a long time. And so, he loves the game, he’s competitive. It will be good to get him back.”
Okwara has missed the last two weeks and getting him back will surely help the Lions’ pass rush as they have been rolling with multiple edge rushers on the field at a time in obvious pass-rushing situations.
Reeves-Maybin got in a full practice on Friday, the first time he has not been limited since injuring his shoulder three weeks ago. He has played through a shoulder injury the last two games and performed extraordinarily well, so now that he is nearly back to full health, expectations are high.
Smith was sick on Thursday, but it appears it was just a 24-hour bug as he was back in full on Friday. He’s been a solid special team contributor since being acquired two weeks ago.