NFL teams are not required to give injury reports or inactive lists during the preseason. Therefore, we can’t be certain which Detroit Lions players will suit up for the preseason opener against the Atlanta Falcons on Friday night.
That said, during training camp, we have full access to entire practices, whereas we only get to see the first 15 minutes during the regular season. So we have a pretty good idea of each players’ participation level headed into Friday night’s opener.
With that in mind, I’ve created a very unofficial injury list for the Lions in Week 1 of the preseason, along with my best estimation on how likely it is that they’ll play against the Falcons. This post should be treated as a best-guess, as it is not official in any capacity.
Note: These percentage estimates are unofficial. They are simply educated guesses.
Lions still on injury list (0% chance of playing)
The following players are still on injury lists and have not passed a physical as of Thursday night, meaning they are ineligible to play.
- FB Jason Cabinda (PUP)
- WR Jameson Williams (NFI)
- EDGE Romeo Okwara (PUP)
- EDGE Josh Paschal (PUP)
- CB Jerry Jacobs (PUP)
None of these players look particularly close to coming back from their injury list, so it’s possible we don’t see any of these players for the entire preseason.
Lions who have missed a significant portion of practice (10-20% chance of playing)
- WR Quintez Cephus
- CB Ifeatu Melifonwu
- EDGE Julian Okwara
- DT Levi Onwuzurike
Earlier this week, coach Dan Campbell suggested that Julian Okwara and Levi Onwuzurike should be ready by Week 1 of the regular season, but still may be out a week or two. They have virtually no chance of playing this week.
Melifonwu has missed practice since the Ford Field scrimmage last Saturday. He has been out on the field for most practices since—usually a good sign the injury is not serious—but it would be a surprise if we saw him in the preseason opener.
Cephus suffered what looked like a serious injury on August 2, but Campbell said Cephus will be okay. He hasn’t practiced since, but he’s been doing a little work on the sidelines, so he’s getting closer.
Lions who have suffered recent injuries (50/50 chance of playing)
- WR Josh Johnson
- WR Trinity Benson
This week, both Johnson and Benson missed a few practices, but both were on the field and moving around a little bit. Detroit could play it safe with both, but these players could use the opportunity to make plays Friday night. They’ve both had a few days to rest up, so there remains a good chance they suit up.
‘We’re being smart with them’ Lions players (50-75% chance of playing)
These are players who the Lions have been giving regular rest to ensure their health, either due to previous injuries or just making sure they’re prepared for the regular season.
- RB D’Andre Swift
- TE T.J. Hockenson
- LT Taylor Decker
- C Frank Ragnow
Swift has been getting regular on and off days throughout camp. On one hand, the Lions want to make sure he’s prepared for contact. On the other, they want to keep him as healthy as possible before Week 1. It’s a true toss-up whether we see him against the Falcons.
Hockenson has been getting just about as many rest days as Swift, and more importantly, he had a pretty significant limp walking off the field of the team’s last practice on Wednesday. Hockenson doesn’t have much to prove or gain in this preseason, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him sit.
Decker suffered a foot injury at the end of last season, and the Lions have been making sure not to put too much on his plate. I don’t have a good read on whether he’ll play on Friday, because he’s been getting a lot of team drills off all training camp.
Ragnow has been a participant in every camp practice except for one: Wednesday’s practice. He was jogging along the sideline at a pretty fast pace, so this doesn’t appear to be a serious injury. But Detroit has also been giving him some snaps off along the way, so it’s possible they don’t risk anything on Friday night with their Pro Bowl center.