The Detroit Lions are starting the 21-day evaluation clock of Superback Jason Cabinda (ankle) and he is now eligible to return to practice.
Per coach Dan Campbell, Cabinda will begin practicing on Wednesday, thus allowing the team to assess where he is in his recovery process and when he will be healthy enough to return to the active roster. During this 21-day window, while Cabinda can practice, he is still technically still on the reserve/PUP list and therefore does not count against the Lions' 53-man allotment. When he is eligible to return to game action, the team would need to place him on the active roster—which they can do at any time—and potentially make a corresponding move to clear roster space.
At this time, the Lions currently have an open spot on the active roster after the T.J. Hockenson. In his Wednesday press conference, Campbell alluded to the fact that the team could consider signing Shane Zylstra from the practice squad or potentially using that spot to activate Cabinda. This is the exact scenario discussed in my roster impact article following the Hockenson trade.
Typically, when the Lions have returned players from long injuries—Julian Okwara and Ifeatu Melifonwu—or reserve lists—Josh Paschal and Jerry Jacobs—the re-acclimation process has taken two to three weeks. But Campbell has suggested Cabinda was close to returning for a few weeks now, so it is possible he could be ready to play on Sunday.
“We’ll look at Cabinda, too,” Campbell said. “See how he practices through the week.”
Since signing his new two-year contract this past offseason, Cabinda has not been able to practice but he has remained with the team on the field and in meeting rooms, and has used the extra time to give back to the community. In Week 7, Cabinda was named the NFLPA Community MVP by the NFLPA for his work with Detroit area schools.