The Detroit Lions have announced their Week 7 injury designations ahead of their Sunday matchup with the Dallas Cowboys and they have ruled five players out, including starters DJ Chark and Charles Harris.
The good news is that the Lions have a real shot at having some of their offensive skill players available for this game, including D’Andre Swift, Amon-Ra St. Brown, and Josh Reynolds.
“He’s a passionate kid, man, he wants to be out there on the field,” Lions assistant head coach/running backs coach Duce Staley said of Swift. “He’s asking questions left and right. He’s working hard trying to get back, doing extra, so it really means something to him. So, I (understand) the frustration.”
That hard work is starting to pay off, as Staley also noted Swift looked better in recent practices:
“Last couple of days been out there working, been looking pretty good,” Staley said on Friday.
Players in the 21-day evaluation window
- EDGE Josh Paschal (sports hernia, PUP): Day 17
- CB Jerry Jacobs (ACL, PUP): Day 17
If either player is activated from PUP to the active roster, it will likely come on Saturday, as is typical, something coach Dan Campbell confirmed at his Friday morning press conference:
“Yeah, they’ve been working, and I feel like every day, they’ve gotten a little bit better, so we’ll see. See where they’re at tomorrow.”
- WR DJ Chark (ankle)
- OT Matt Nelson (calf)
- EDGE Charles Harris (groin)
- CB Bobby Price (knee)
- S Ifeatu Melifonwu (ankle)
None of these five players were able to practice this week, so an “out” designation for each was expected.
Chark was seen in a walking boot on Thursday and it’s entirely possible he lands on injured reserve (most likely on Saturday, if it happens) so he can rest his surgically repaired ankle. His role as WR-X will likely go to Josh Reynolds (who is listed as questionable), and Kalif Raymond will be asked to start on the outside.
Nelson has now been unable to practice for three weeks and his loss will be felt the most in situations where the Lions want to use six offensive linemen. Last game, they moved away from the concept, which could negatively impact opportunities in the rushing attack.
Harris will miss his second game in a row, but with other defensive ends returning from injury, the Lions should be able to minimize his absence a little easier this game. I discussed how they might do that in this week’s Honolulu Blueprint.
Price’s absence will be felt most on special teams where he is a four-phase starter. Ideally, the team would turn to Melifonwu to replace him, but the second-year converted cornerback is also unable to play in this game; the Lions will likely lean more on seventh-round rookie Chase Lucas.
- RB D’Andre Swift (ankle, shoulder)
- WR Josh Reynolds (knee) — upgraded from no practice to a limited practice on Friday
- DL John Cominsky (wrist)
- LB Chris Board (knee)
- CB Will Harris (groin)
The Lions coaches are all being coy about Swift’s ability to play this weekend, saying he has looked good in practice, but falling short of fully endorsing him as back. The Lions could use his presence on the field as they look to get back to an explosive run game like they had in the first two weeks of the season.
Reynolds missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday but was back on the field as a limited participant on Friday. Even if he is active this weekend, he may not be at 100 percent, but his presence will certainly help.
Cominsky might factor heavily into how the Lions replace Harris at defensive end and could actually be called upon to start at big defensive end in this game.
Board missed practice on Wednesday but got in limited practices on Thursday and Friday. His availability will surely help the loss of Price on special teams.
Harris’ started over Amani Oruwariye last game, but this injury, depending its severity, could open the door for Oruwariye to jump back into the role.
No injury designation
- WR Amon-Ra St. Brown (ankle)
- LT Taylor Decker (personal)
- C Frank Ragnow (foot) — upgraded from two limited practices to a full practice on Friday
St. Brown got in a full week of practices, and with no injury designation, he looks to be fully back and ready to contribute.
Decker was with his wife as they welcomed their first child on Wednesday, but he has been back with the team for two days and is expected to start at left tackle.
Ragnow’s foot injury has frustrated him most of the season, but he got in his first full practice in several weeks and appears to be moving toward full health. That would be a welcome sign for the Lions All-Pro center.
Cowboys injury designations
Here’s a look at the Cowboys’ injury designations: