The Detroit Lions have released their Week 5 injury designations, and they will be without six players against the New England Patriots, including starters D’Andre Swift, DJ Chark, and Charles Harris—whose absence could potentially be a major issue on Sunday.
- RB D’Andre Swift (ankle, shoulder)
- WR DJ Chark (ankle) — downgraded to no practice
- WR Quintez Cephus (foot)
- OT Matt Nelson (calf)
- EDGE Charles Harris (groin) — downgraded to no practice
- DL John Cominsky (wrist)
Harris injured his groin late in Thursday’s practice, was not able to recover in time to practice on Friday, and has been ruled out. This is a potentially significant blow, as the Lions were already light on edge rushers due to injuries. The Lions do have some options on how to replace him, but regardless of the option that they choose, they will be asking a reserve who has played minimal snaps to step up his game.
The most straightforward option is to simply plug Julian Okwara or Austin Bryant into the role to fill the void. Another option is to use Demetrius Taylor at the “big defensive end” and shift Aidan Hutchinson to the “rush end” side. The most likely option is that they do all of these, rotating the reserves, and moving Hutchinson between the two spots.
Cominsky has been working with trainers this week but is still not ready to return to action. Based on the fact that the Lions did not place him on injured reserve, a return to the field after the bye seems plausible.
Swift being ruled out is no surprise as it has been reported that he is most likely targeting Week 7 and taking advantage of next week’s bye to get some more rest and rehab.
Chark missed practice on Wednesday, returned to a limited practice on Thursday, and told Free Press’ Dave Birkett that he was feeling 10 times better this week and expected to play. But when Friday arrived, Chark was unable to practice and was ruled out.
With Chark’s backup Cephus also ruled out, the Lions will likely shift Josh Reynolds to the WR-X—like they did last week—and use a rotation of Tom Kennedy and Kalif Raymond at the WR-Z.
Nelson has been averaging 10-12 percent of offensive snaps as the team's sixth offensive lineman. That role likely won’t go away this week, and depending on who is available, they should have some options to replace Nelson.
- WR Amon-Ra St. Brown (ankle) — returned to practice on Friday
- WR Josh Reynolds (ankle)
- LG Jonah Jackson (finger) — upgraded to FULL practice
- RG Evan Brown (ankle)
- G Kayode Awosika (hamstring)
- LB Chris Board (knee) — returned to practice on Friday
St. Brown missed five practices in a row before returning to the field on Friday and is questionable to play on Sunday. With Chark and Cephus ruled out, the Lions could certainly use another healthy receiver, but St. Brown, of course, is much more than just that.
“Anytime you can get a player like him back, it helps from production but also just what he brings,” coach Dan Campbell said. “He’s a spark plug. He’s a leader. He’s a hard-hat guy. He’s going to bring his lunch pail and go to work. Just to have him in any capacity would be very helpful.”
Reynolds missed Wednesday’s practice but got in two limited practices and is expected to start—at the “X”, as noted above—on Sunday.
Returning Jackson would be a massive boost to the Lions offensive line. Getting the Pro Bowl guard back in the mix could give the Lions an extra boost on offense, and help them maintain their high level of production. The fact that he was upgraded to a full participant on Friday seems to suggest he’ll return to game action on Sunday.
Brown missed practice on Wednesday but also got in two limited practices and if he is able to play, he is expected to stay the starter at right guard.
If Jackson and Brown both play, it’s very possible Dan Skipper takes over Nelson’s role as the sixth offensive lineman. If Skipper needs to fill in for one of the starters, Logan Stenberg or Awosika could take over in the role. Awosika got in limited practices all week but the arrow seems to be pointing toward him being available.
Board missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday but was able to return to practice on Friday and a questionable designation appears to be a positive sign. Board is one of the league's best special teams players—just ask Patriots coach Bill Belichick—and his availability would be a big plus.
No injury designation
- TE T.J. Hockenson (hip)
- C Frank Ragnow (foot)
- LT Taylor Decker (knee)
Three of the Lions top offensive players were a bit dinged up this week but they are not listed with an injury designation and will be good to go against the Patriots.
Reserve: 21-day evaluation window
- EDGE Josh Paschal (sports hernia, PUP): Day 3
- CB Jerry Jacobs (ACL, PUP): Day 3
Patriots injury designations
Here’s a look at the Patriots’ injury designations:
Mac Jones is officially listed as doubtful for Sunday. pic.twitter.com/8LQtMH3TSi— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) October 7, 2022