The Detroit Lions (7-8) have declared their injury designations ahead of the Week 17 matchup with the Chicago Bears (3-12) and they will once again be without starting safety DeShon Elliott for the second week in a row.
- G Kayode Awosika (ankle)
- S DeShon Elliott (shoulder)
Elliott will once again be forced from action this week and per coach Dan Campbell, the team is planning on starting second-year defensive back Ifeatu Melifonwu in his place. Melifonwu started last week against the Panthers but struggled to acclimate, something Lions coaches are hoping more experience will help remedy in this game.
“Aggressiveness, finish on the tackles, use your hands,” Campbell said. “He’s a big, long athlete and he’s got the tools. And it’s just—alright man, you’ve got your first start under your belt now we need to see the aggressive side of you come out. You’ve got to play more violent in there and you do have to finish on these plays. That’s what we’re looking for from him.”
While Melifonwu gains experience, the word out of Allen Park is that Elliott is progressing well from injury, and per Justin Rogers of the Detroit News, he may very well return to the starting lineup for next week’s regular-season finale.
As previously reported, DeShon Elliott is not playing this week, but he wasn't too far off. His range of motion is essentially back, but Lions playing it cautiously with the safety's shoulder. There's a high level of optimism he'll return for next week's finale in Green Bay.— Justin Rogers (@Justin_Rogers) December 30, 2022
After missing four games in a row, Awosika was able to return to practice on Wednesday, but he ended the day in a walking boot and was unable to practice since. If he suffered a setback, he could be a candidate for injured reserve.
- C Frank Ragnow (foot)
- RB Justin Jackson (hip)
- LB Josh Woods (biceps)
Ragnow didn’t practice on Wednesday or Thursday this week—which is typical at this stage of the year, as the team manages his foot injury—but he was back on the field on Friday and is expected to start at center against the Bears.
Jackson was healthy all week, then popped up on the injury report on Friday, indicating he likely injured his hip at practice. Jackson has been an important cog in the Lions running game of late with running backs coach/assistant head coach Duce Staley calling him the team’s “Swiss army knife” due to his ability to contribute in so many situations. If he is unable to play, look for Craig Reynolds to return back to game action as RB3 this week.
Woods missed Wednesday’s practice this week but got in limited practices on Thursday and Friday. If the Lion special teams captain is able to play, it would be a big boost for the third phase of the game.
Not listed with an injury designation
- WR Josh Reynolds (illness)
- FB Jason Cabinda (illness)
- G Logan Stenberg (illness)
- S Kerby Joseph (back)
Reynolds, Cabinda, and Stenberg all appear to be feeling better after recently coming down with an illness, and no injury designation means they should be ready to go on Sunday.
Joseph missed Wednesday’s practice, was limited on Thursday, and was back in full on Friday. He appears to have bounced back quickly from his back injury and will start next to Melifonwu.
Bears injury designations
Here’s a look at the Bears’ injury designations, the most notable being wide receiver Chase Claypool, who is listed as questionable: